Best Business Practices: Media Tips

March 23, 2010

After having completed a taped radio and television interview, I am now preparing for an upcoming live cable television interview and I wanted to share some media tips that I was recently given by NYC based media expert Jeff Bloch. Getting media exposure is a key step towards building your brand, establishing your expert credibility and sharing with the world what you do for a living and how they can find you. Who doesn’t want some of that?

1. PREPARE-Before you talk to a reporter, know your story. Focus your broad knowledge of your subject into three key messages that tell a complete story. Think about what you would like the headline to be, and what you want the reporter – and your audience – to remember. Often, the messages state a problem/situation, followed by a solution/next step, and finally offer the credibility of your organization to provide that solution or input.

2. THINK NEWS- Messages should offer some information that is new, that goes beyond what others have said, or that identifies a new issue or trend. Don’t sensationalize, but think about what can make your story more interesting, more compelling.

3. SUPPORT YOUR STORY WITH SPECIFICS-Facts/figures-don’t worry about citing particularly daunting numbers, rather just provide some context with numbers that will allow the audience to better appreciate the scope of your work, examples, anecdotes, quotable language-in other words vivid words and well-turned phrases that are catchy but not too clever and will help to crystallize your story.

4. CONSIDER THE AUDIENCE-Whom are you trying to reach? Consumers, potential business customers, decision-makers? Make sure your messages and your supporting information are tailored to your audience. Avoid jargon – use language they will understand. When possible, put a face on it, meaning, give an example of a person or situation that your audience can relate to and appreciate.

5. DEVELOP-Develop a list of questions that are likely to be asked. Be prepared for obvious negative questions, but also be ready to answer the supposedly “easy” ones, such as “Tell me about this study / your company / your perspective on this issue.” Keep up with the news in the days before your interview and be ready to deal with related events or developments.

6. DELIVER-Once the interview begins-take control. Don’t wait for the reporter to guide you through your story. Begin at the beginning, deliver your messages early and often, explain, re-contextualize, repeat yourself as necessary. If you are reacting to news, hold your ground. If you are promoting a story, don’t make the reporter “pull teeth” to get it.

7. USE FLAGS-Phrases such as “What’s most important…” “The key thing is…” “There are three critical factors…” signal to the reporter and the audience that you’re about to say something vital.

8. BUILD BRIDGES-Don’t just answer the question. Find the ways to go beyond the answer to your message. Be more expansive, offer additional information, return to an earlier point. Make sure you spend more time on your story than on other, less important, topics.

9. TURN NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES-Don’t be defensive and don’t over-explain your response to the negative. Instead, deal with the negative – without repeating any negative language – and then bridge to a message. Remember to end on a positive.

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Top 12 Barriers to Women Launching Businesses

March 17, 2010

Ladies Who Launch has identified the top twelve barriers that prevent more women from launching their own businesses.  Do any of these barriers ring true for you?  A brief explanation of the ways in which Ladies Who Launch is addressing these barriers is also provided.  What else is preventing you from working towards your entrepreneurial aspirations?

1. Lack of business networks: Ladies Who Launch provides women with access to consistent and integrated online and offline networks through the Local Community franchise structure which includes monthly meetings, events and workshops with online extensions and applications. Ladies Who Launch Linc Up! meetings and LIVE events are specifically geared towards networking.

2. Lack of role models in the workplace: The Ladies Who Launch flagship Featured Lady stories provide women with weekly success role models, guidance and advice. Additionally, Ladies Who Launch features its own successful STRATA members that have gone through its programs and launched and grown their businesses.

3. Lack of growth and expansion capital: Access to resources and content based on their profile that will enable women to understand the strategies around fund-raising. LWL also provides education around this area through the Fresh Entrepreneur workshop offering.

4. Lack of entrepreneurial education / training: Ladies Who Launch provides “nuts and bolts” business education delivered across both channels: Online and Offline. Online this education is delivered in the form of weekly webinars with expert partners on a range of business topics identified to be relevant and important to women entrepreneurs. Offline, the same topical structure and access to experts is delivered through a monthly meeting membership structure.

5. Negative self-perceptions (i.e. self-confidence, fear of failure): Ladies Who Launch validates the feminine approach that women use to start and launch businesses and gives women the tools and support to leverage these traits to be successful. Distinctly feminine traits that we have identified include: “Using connecting to move forward”, “Starting organically, testing plans as they go”, “Giving back as a component of launching or reason for launching”, “placing a high level of importance on creativity, passion, lifestyle flexibility and control” as primary motivations for wanting their own businesses”. Ladies Who Launch has built a strong and recognized brand around delivering all of its content and resources in a distinctly feminine way that speaks to women specifically in an environment they deem safe and reliable.

6. Access to credit and financing : Ladies Who Launch is actively identifying key funding partners through banks or investors that are interested in reaching these targeted women and facilitate these connections through advertising and promotional vehicles on the site.

7. Child and dependent care responsibilities : Provide access to resources and content based on their profile that will enable women to understand solution based alternatives to lower stress around this area. LWL provides education around this area through the Fresh Entrepreneur workshop offering in terms of building a support team to enable business growth.

8. Discourse of entrepreneurship inherently male, with traits of defined counter stereotyped female traits: Ladies Who Launch just launched a second workshop offering: The Fresh Entrepreneur which provides women with more robust business content, including road-mapping, monetization planning, and an accountability structure, all delivered using the signature feminine voice of the Ladies Who Launch brand. This workshop combines the typical Male /liner approach to launching with integration of the feminine approach unique to the Ladies Who Launch philosophy

9. Lack of turnkey solutions from trusted source: Ladies Who Launch has identified four distinct market segments (Dreamer, Pre-Launcher, New Launcher and Established Launcher) and is currently evaluating and developing solutions to address each segment. Ladies Who Launch will essentially re-merchandise the way these solutions are currently being delivered and offered to launchers.

10. Lack of adequate marketing, PR and distribution for their products and services: LWL currently offers high-profile public relation opportunities to its Local community membership base through weekly emails and the opportunity to self promote thru classified and directory listings

11. Lack of roadmap, clear path and focus: The flagship Ladies Who Launch Incubator Intensive Workshop provides women with a platform for gaining clarity, focus and momentum around their business projects. Ladies Who Launch provides women both online and in-person, with an environment of like-minded, motivated women that is conducive to success. Additionally, with the new and improved re-merchandized Ladies Who Launch website that is solutions-oriented and using a custom approach for each market segment, Ladies Who Launch will be able to better deliver turnkey solutions, including roadmaps and inspiration that is relevant to each user.

12. Fear that starting a business will mean family and personal life sacrifice: Work and lifestyle integration is the fundamental principle of which the LWL brand is built upon and is the sole reason LWL has grown exponentially. The strategy of the entire site is focused on absolving or reducing this fear by providing concrete solutions in order for women to succeed in business and in life.

For more information about the Ladies Who Launch community here in Portland, please contact the Director Katie Kelley at KKelley@ladieswholaunch.com and go to http://www.ladieswholaunch.com/portland.