Bazyn Communications Newsletter
Copyright © September 2008 By Bazyn Communications, All rights reserved.
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a. “Steps for Choosing Entrepreneurship” By: Ardis Bazyn
b. “Media Strategies” By: Rick Frishman
Letter from the editor
I’ve had a wonderful and busy summer. Besides working at a few conferences, I’ve also had time to visit friends and family. My most recent trip was to Bimedji, MN, where I spent a few days visiting family and doing a bit of sight seeing. A boat ride on Lake Itaca was one of the highlights of my visit.
I’ve recently been speaking on the topic of “Entrepreneurship, Is It Right for You?” I’ve recently spoken to two audiences of people with disabilities, mostly visually impaired. One of the articles in this newsletter will give you some tips to help you answer that question. Another article is dealing withmedia strategies. If anything in this newsletter helps you develop your skills, please let me know. I enjoy hearing suggestions from readers as well.
Steps for Choosing Entrepreneurship
The first step in choosing entrepreneurship as an option is to decide whether entrepreneurship is really right for you. Do you have the motivation to focus on setting up a business, marketing a business, and making priorities as necessary to keep it moving forward? As a business owner, you will not have a supervisor watching over you to make sure tasks are accomplished or give you jobs to do. You also will not have a steady income immediately. If you have lots of energy, like meeting new people all the time, and feel your personal life can be made more flexible, entrepreneurship may be a good choice.
The second step is to choose the right type of business to start. Do you have skills that could be marketed as a business? For example, if you have the skills to fix or program computers, you might be able to sell these services to others. Do you currently work for another company doing a particular service such as styling hair, giving massages, giving nail or facial treatments, taking photos, making videos, or selling their products and services? If so, you might feel like starting your own business offering these same services to your own customers.
Another viable option is to sell products and services for a large networking products company. There are numerous ones from which to choose: Avon, Mary Kay, Arbonne, Party Lite, health and vitamin products, and many others. Each one has its own levels of earnings, most based on the amount of sales you make. Some require you to have inventory on hand and others do not. Check out several before deciding on the best one for you. Each charges you some upfront fee but it varies widely. Most do have training sessions to help you start.
The next step is to consider family support and your education. Having your own business takes more than just having a skill. You might be great at that skill, but can you network with a variety of people and manage accounts, keep a schedule, and have a plan for how bookkeeping and financial records will be handled? Do you have the education necessary to accomplish these tasks yourself? Do you have a family member (spouse) who can assist you in this part of the business? Classes are available online and a good business coach can assist you in finding out what is necessary.
The next step is to consider your financial resources and calculate the upfront cost of starting a business. All businesses take time to develop and become large enough to support you and your family. You will need some funding to assist you with living costs until you earn enough to sustain you. You may need to rent an office unless you are planning to have a home based business. Even then, you will need enough room for inventory, computers, marketing materials, and other equipment. You may need to purchase some equipment such as a new computer. Some funding is available through the Small Business Administration.
You will need to research valuable online resources. You can do a search for other types of businesses, possible loans or grants, and other information relating to the industry you want to pursue. You may want to consult with someone else currently in that particular business—you can find others by searching for them on the Internet.
You can explore grants and/or low interest loans. Some funding is available for starting a new business, particularly if you are a veteran. Funds for minority based businesses are also available. Resources are available online for these sources too. You can contact veteran organizations and minority organizations for assistance in this area.
If you have a disability, you can get facts from vocational rehabilitation services in your state about how they can assist you in starting a business. They also can assist you with some technology needs, particularly during your education. The Social Security Administration can give you information on incentives available for business owners and assistance for living costs and health care until you earn enough to support yourself.
Another step in the process is checking state and local laws for starting a business. Depending on the type of business, there are licenses required. All states require you to have a sales tax license unless you sell products of a already established businesses. Other licenses may be required in the city and county in which you live. Local laws are different from city to city. Some food services need health licenses to operate. Other retail establishments may need other licenses to sell liquor, over the counter drugs, and other items. Some counties require you to get a DBA- Doing Business As license. It is important to know all requirements before you begin a business
The most important step in starting a business is writing a business plan. It forces you to think about the elements of a business such as your mission or vision, your products and services, and how you are unique from others. You will have to define how you will market your business and set goals to build your business. Finally, you will need to write a budget and plan how you will get the sales you need to pay the expenses. Consulting with people familiar with this process will be beneficial in this process.
-- Read other helpful tips to promote your own business in my third book: “BUILDING BLOCKS TO SUCCESS: Does the Image of Your Business Attract Customers or Motivate Employees?”
Order print copies from www.xlibris.com as well as: www.bazyncommunications.com . Currently, specialized formats are available from my website only.
By: Rick Frishman
"Reporters are like alligators. You don't have to love them, you don't necessarily have to like them. But you do have to feed them."
What The Media Loves
Above all else, the media wants newsworthy items. The first thing they ask is, "Will our audience care about this?" News is what affects people's lives, what they discuss at the dinner table and around the water cooler. For the media, news is not just about delivering information; it's about entertaining first and educating or selling second. So, provide your information in an entertaining fashion.
2. The Big Three: Sex, Money, and Health
Stories that involve sex, money, or health attract attention. The media believes that the public is obsessed with sex, money, and health, and if you link your story to one or more of them, it will increase its media appeal.
Save everyone time and effort by sending short, concise messages, preferably by e-mail. Cut to the chase--be direct and without subterfuge. State what you're pitching and how it will help the intended audience. Long missives often go unread.
Faxes can be unreliable. Some newsrooms, stations, and offices have only one fax machine, or one per floor, and it may be operated by an intern or a clerk.
In large organizations, faxes are often undelivered or delivered to the wrong person. If you send a fax, follow up with an e-mail to be sure it is received.
4. Targeted Pitches
Every story isn't for every outlet. Research the audience you wish to reach and identify which outlets best target that audience. Before making your pitch, study each media outlet: read its articles, watch and listen to its programs, and visit its Web sites. Customize your pitch to stress how it will benefit each outlet's specific audience. Send business stories to business reporters, not to lifestyle reporters, unless the story has a lifestyle angle.
Media people like to deal with people who build relationships rather than merely try to sell a story. Although individual stories are important, people in the media know that careers are built by forging strong relationships. To the media, professionals build relationships and they prefer to work with professionals in their network rather than one-shot wonders.
Do your homework. The media likes to work with people who have their acts together and can deliver what is needed. Focus on making the media's job easier.
Know your subject inside and out and have written materials completed and on hand to send upon request. With products, send three copies of the product to the media. Being prepared shows commitment and that you're a dedicated professional.
7. Broad Appeal
The story behind your product or service should be able to reach a wide variety of individuals. You want something that makes audiences say, "I know someone who could use that." The media looks for stories that people will identify with. Search for broad themes that deliver some punch.
The media wants stories that feed into larger items such as breaking news or trends. It looks for topics that will spawn families of stories. For example, during mining disasters they go for stories about safety, corporate greed, the closeness and tradition of mining communities, handling grief, treating trauma, technical and scientific advances, and the environment.
Reporters, editors, and bloggers like to see how others have covered your story; send articles that others have written about you or your product or service. Producers and podcasters want to know how you came off on camera or radio; give them a list of shows you've appeared on and offer to supply tapes for their review.
The media loves stories that they can picture. In your written materials, use visual terms to create images and tell stories that illustrate your main points. The better the media can visualize your story, the better it can visualize its audience visualizing your story.
11. Celebrity Connections
Explain how your product or service is linked to well-known personalities. The public craves information about celebrities and products related to them get plenty of ink.
12. Prompt Response
Since the media works tight deadlines, time is always of the essence. Respond promptly to requests. Send requested material by the fastest route: hand delivery or overnight express. Delays can cause postponements or cancellations. You're always in a race with the clock.
Be respectful to everyone you come in contact with, especially those who answer the phones. Before speaking with media contacts, learn the proper pronunciation of their names. Butchering a media contact's name will get you off to a rocky start; it will put you in a hole before you begin.
14. Visual Aids
A picture is worth 10,000 words. Send charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations, and other graphic aids that reporters can stick under their editors' noses to show why your story merits telling.
Send Warnings Before sending unsolicited material, you should notify your media contacts that it is coming with a quick call or e-mail. If they tell you not to send it, respect their wishes.
What the Media Hates
1. Not Taking "No" for an Answer
Persistence is an admirable trait, but there comes a point when you must accept defeat. Most people won't build relationships with insistent callers who phone 500 times after they're told "No." When someone says "No," accept it. Walk away before you destroy a potentially valuable connection.
2. Long Press Releases
One killer page is all you need. If the media wants more, they'll ask for it. Come up with a great headline, state the major points in a strong first paragraph, and bullet everything you want to stress. Include secondary information in a background or follow-up release.
3. Lying, Misrepresentation, and Hype
Don't be dishonest or unreasonable. The truth will always emerge, and when stories aren't based on facts, the media usually ends up holding the bag. Most people, especially those in the media, won't forget who got them burned and will not give you the chance to do it again. Media pros know a good story when they see one and they can cut through the hype.
4. Pitches That Don't Fit
Know exactly what the specific contact wants. Don't approach reporters or producers with stories that fall outside their areas of interest. Pitching a story to the wrong outlet shows that you haven't done your research. It wastes everyone's time.
5. Small Talk
Get right to the point--be clear and brief. Don't confuse chitchat with courtesy. Assume that the people you contact are busy and don't have time for small talk. Needless chatting borders on rudeness, it holds people hostage and keeps them from attending to business. It's thinly veiled manipulation that rarely works.
6. Links That Don't Work
Little is more frustrating than to click on a link that doesn't work. When people go to your site or blog, they don't have time to waste on dead links. If they can't easily access the information they want, they will probably exit your site and move on to something else.
Media kits that weigh as much as your cocker spaniel are a turnoff. Less is more. When in doubt, leave it out. Most recipients resent bulging kits, consider them wasteful, and won't read them. The last thing they want is more stuff. If you must send tomes, bound them securely because it's maddening to watch papers falling out and scattering in every direction when an envelope is opened.
8. Cold Calls
Unsolicited phone calls are intrusions--verbal spam. They interrupt busy people while they're working. E-mail first to warn them that you plan on calling. Similarly, don't send unrequested attachments--they won't be opened--and unsolicited videotapes won't be watched. Unless you receive express permission, never call the media at home!
Avoid offering free tickets to events and other bribes. Many media outlets prohibit gifts altogether, some bar presents over a fixed dollar amount (often $25) and others require gifts to be shared or donated to charity. Generally, the media wants good stories, not free T-shirts or coffee mugs.
Nobody likes name-droppers. Name-dropping often indicates that a story is weak. In most cases, if connections to celebrated names are tenuous at best, they seldom change the story's value. While name-dropping may work with friends, it will hurt you with media professionals.
11. Lack of Appeal
Your discovery of a foolproof method of pickling pimentos may be the biggest thing in your life, but it's probably of little or no interest to the rest of the world. If you want your story covered by the media, it must have audience appeal.
12. Unnecessary Confirmation Calls
Unrequested calls made simply to check on whether faxes or packages have arrived draw mixed responses at best. Some media pros see them as helpful reminders for keeping track of items on their plates. Others resent them as pestering. Your best bet is to send a quick e-mail, rather than call, to check on the delivery of faxes and packages.
If you use a gimmick, it better be sensational and the reason you're using it must be clear. That said, the vast majority falls flat. Never assume that the media will get the point you're trying to make. Most media people prefer conventional approaches. A reporter for a big-city newspaper told us that a woman who appeared outside his office clad in a bikini and blowing a trumpet provided a good laugh, but she didn't get the publicity she wanted because she never mentioned why she was there.
14. Not Following Up on Requests
Everybody hates people who send press releases, call, or fax, but then don't follow up with additional information when it is requested. If you say, or even imply, that you're going to do something, do it and do it promptly. Otherwise, you will be considered unreliable and unprofessional. If you don't respond promptly it may be too late. You can't expect folks to wait for you.
15. Recycling Ideas
Don't repeatedly send the same idea no matter how cleverly you repackage it. Writers, producers, and bloggers recognize and resent old dogs dolled up in new duds. "A lump of coal is still a lump of coal and no matter how you package it, it's not a diamond," a producer once explained.
Remember Stay on the media's good side. When you're aware of what the media loves and what it hates, it will give you a great shot at staying in the media's good graces. Feed the media what it wants because the more the media likes you, the more publicity it can generate for your product or service.
Reprinted from "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter"
Subscribe at http://www.author101.com and receive Rick's "Million Dollar Rolodex"
I finished my fourth book in December. This book was written originally for my two daughters but then I decided to offer it to others. The title is “My Family’s Favorites” (Generations of family recipes along with healthy tips and helpful cooking hints). My books are available for purchase on my website: www.bazyncommunications.com in several formats (print, audio cd or cassette, and brf format for notetakers). You can receive a discounted print copy of my third book by ordering it on my publisher’s website: www.xlibris.com. BUILDING BLOCKS TO SUCCESS: Does the Image of Your Business Attract Customers and Motivate Employees?
Go to the author page and look for Ardis Bazyn or go to the book page and look for “Building Blocks to Success”.
Business coaching plans are available at a discounted fee if you indicate you read this newsletter. Contact me for more details.
Products and Services
Bazyn Communications continues to offer inspirational and motivational speaking, business coaching, and writing. A free consultation by phone or in person is available upon request. For a list of speaking or coaching topics, visit my website. I also am available for a variety of writing projects, small and large. I write business plans, marketing plans, articles, and copy for most types of media for small businesses and nonprofits. I also do small Braille transcription projects including greeting cards. Contact me for pricing.
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If you wish to contribute an article to a future newsletter, or make any suggestions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each article received will be read and will be printed if it meets the newsletter criteria.
Check out the links of organizations in which I participate:
Xlibris Publishing: www.xlibris.com
Burbank Business Network International: www.bniburbank.com
Burbank Chamber of Commerce: www.burbankchamber.com
Burbank activities: www.burbank.com
Independent Visually Impaired Enterprisers: www.ivie-acb.org
American Council of the Blind: www.acb.org
California Council of the Blind: www.ccbnet.org
Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America: www.ntcbv.org
California Voter Empowerment Circle: www.CALVEC.org
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one." Dale Carnegie
Copyright ©, 2008 by Bazyn Communications, All rights reserved.
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