Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Four Simple PR Pitch Formulas

Four simple PR pitch formulas.  How shall I pitch thee?  Here are four easy ways:
  •  Is a publication seeking stories about local businesses? Pitch that.
  •  Does it cover trends in a particular industry? Pitch a trend that affects that industry. 
  • Do they run profiles of individual companies? Pitch yours.  
  • Are multiple sources quoted in stories? Pitch yourself, and quote other experts.  
You’ll dramatically increase your chances of getting coverage if you do your research first, then pitch writers the kind of story you know they use. Of course nothing works all the time so if at first you don’t succeed ….pitch, pitch again, but only after you’ve done your homework. ~ Steve Harrison

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: EcoBroker and Realtor Meg Russell Named Triangle Regional Manager of Allison James Estates & Homes

Marge “Meg” Russell promoted to oversee the successful first North Carolina office of Allison James in Cary. Allison James is the leading national internet-based real estate brokerage in the US.

Cary, North Carolina (June 19, 2012): Allison James Estates & Homes®, known as the greenest brokerage in the world, welcomes Accredited Luxury Homes Specialist, Green and EcoBroker Certified  Realtor® Meg Russell as Regional Manager and corporate liaison for the Triangle. Meg will leverage her expertise of Triangle real estate in supervising a growing team of agents serving Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Chapel Hill, and the 16-county area of the Triangle Multiple Listing Service. Additional responsibilities include recruiting and training new agents in social media, lead generation, contracts, document compliance, and more.

With an extensive financial background analyzing real estate investments and over a decade of experience as a Realtor in North Carolina, Meg has distinguished herself for her extensive knowledge of the luxury green home market. She is a certified EcoBroker (the premier green designation for real estate professionals), a National Association of Realtors® Green Designee (NAR Green), and a member of the Green Home Builders of the Triangle (GHBT) which is the Green Council for the Home Builders Association of Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties. 
One of the reasons Meg accepted the opportunity to work with Allison James Estates & Homes is their belief in sustainability, customer service and agent support. “I appreciate that the company gives their agents the freedom to build business our own way while enabling us to earn a 100% commission. I don’t know of another company that offers that to their agents.

Energy efficiency and sustainability are factors homebuyers are interested in as they look to the future. Consumer ‘green awareness’ is increasing and so is their demand for knowledge on these issues. As a Realtor, Meg specializes in representing buyers with a mission of lowering energy bills and reducing our carbon footprint either by buying new Energy Star/LEED homes or by purchasing and retrofitting older homes to Green and Energy Star Performance standards. She shares this knowledge with her agents and the public in a year when the North Carolina building code changed to increase energy efficiency in new homes.

“I'm always looking for the best ways to offer my clients the best value. My Green and EcoBroker training helps me ensure customer satisfaction, my number one priority,” said Meg.

About Marge “Meg” Russell:
Marge Russell, known affectionately as Meg to everyone who knows her, is an accomplished Realtor® and active member of the community. She is an Accredited Luxury Homes Specialist; Green, and EcoBroker Certified; Accredited Buyer Representative; Certified Short Sale/Foreclosure Resource; and a Strategic Pricing Specialist. She is an active member of the US Green Building Council and Luxury Home Council. Meg is an energetic supporter of St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research, the Humane Society, and SPCA. Office Location: 1000 Centre Green Way, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27513 Contact Meg at 919.795.5973 or 800.882.7752 

About Allison James Estates & Homes:
Based in Punta Gorda, Florida, Allison James is the leading national internet-based real estate brokerage in the United States. With over 600 agents in 16 states, Allison James Estates & Homes was #2 in the nation for closed sales volume and closed transactions per office, as reported in Real Trends 500 Top Brokerages for 2011.

Media Contact
Eileen Batson


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How To Write Emails that Sell (and that People Love to Read)

By Ben Settle
The vast majority of email marketers make one of two mistakes:
  1. They give away too much content without doing enough selling
  2. They do too much selling without giving away enough content
And it’s costing them a lot of money.
But there’s also a third way that hardly anyone uses.
A way that satisfies your audience’s desire for content while also persuading them to buy. In a way that is fun for you to write, and for your subscribers to read. In fact, even if you are blatantly selling, people often don’t care and actually welcome your pitches.
Believe it or not, I blatantly pitch almost every week day using this method. In some cases, I pitch my product on the weekends, too.
Since I started using this method almost 4 years ago, my sales have never been higher.
And even though I’m always pitching and selling my products, I get few (if any) spam complaints. Hate mail about my daily email frequency is non-existent. And it’s a cold day in Hades when I teach anything found in my paid products.
Customers have never been happier, and my list has never been more satisfied.
So what’s this big email secret? And, how can you use it?
It’s called “infotainment.”
This is just as it sounds — merging information with entertainment. The best infotainment description is from Alan Alda (who played “Hawkeye” in the hit TV show “M.A.S.H”). He was being interviewed about his friend Don Hewitt — founder of the show “60 Minutes” — who had recently died, and he was asked why the show was so popular.
Alan Alda said (paraphrased):
What they do is give viewers a great-tasting hot dog but that nourishes them like broccoli.
This is exactly what infotainment does.
In other words, your content is presented in a way that’s fun to consume, but still delivers real value at the same time. This one approach has allowed me to dominate in virtually all the markets I’ve written emails for — even when using a weak sales letter to a small list. And while I now use dozens (well over 50) ways to use infotainment in my emails, the following 3 ways alone can get the job done no matter what kind of product or service you sell.
Work them in to your emails (starting today) and watch what happens:

Infotainment secret #1: inject your personality into every email

Just being yourself (warts and all) in emails can bring you more long-term response than any other email tip, tactic or “technique” combined.
Even if you have the highest prices and don’t have the best product, the fact you’re “for real” creates a bond of trust that makes people want to buy from you and only you.
So go ahead, crack a joke.
Have an opinion that’s not popular.
And let your unique personality shine through in every word.
Show customers the real you … and they’ll cheerfully open their wallets.

Infotainment secret #2: tell stories

Stories are a great way to sell in emails.
I don’t care what the product or service is. If you can work in a story, your chances of making the sale go up dramatically.
For one thing, stories are naturally entertaining.
Think back a few thousand years. Stories were the only real entertainment people had. They didn’t have TV or radio or the Internet, just stories — which are a great form of entertainment.
It’s very easy to process information from stories, too.
We’re “hard wired” to learn from and communicate through them.
And, in many cases, it’s the most persuasive way to get someone to do what you want. Whether it’s persuading someone to buy your product or persuading a child to be careful of talking to strangers — stories inspire and motivate people to take action.
Many times sales are made just from the story!
Just look at the hit 80′s movie “Top Gun”.
That movie “sold” thousands of young whippersnappers on joining the Navy, even though it never once pitches anyone on it. (The Navy even put recruiters in movie theaters where it was playing.)
As the old adage says:
The more you tell the more you sell. And this is especially true if you’re telling stories.

Infotainment secret #3: pop culture references

Finally, one of my favorite ways to be infotaining is “piggy backing” off of pop culture.
I’m a big fan of doing this not only from a personal point of view, but because as the late (great) copywriter Eugene Schwartz said: That’s your market. Those are the words, the feelings, and the hot buttons that motivate them.
What I like to do is work pop culture analogies, references, jokes and even quotes into my emails. If nothing else, it keeps your emails fun, loose and interesting (all of which combine to make emails more readable and “buyer-friendly”).
So always be asking … what’s popular?
What are the most-watched TV shows?
What movies are people raving about?
What magazines, radio shows, books or websites are hot with your market?
Then dip into those wells over and over. Reference them in your emails. Turn them into analogies, lessons or stories. It’ll be fun for your market to read (and buy from) as well as fun for you to write.
And that’s all there is to it.
The above are just three ways to be infotaining in your emails.
There are dozens more, but if you only work these three into your emails, I believe your sales will go up, with your subscribers and customers looking forward to hearing from you — while making your competition irrelevant.
About the Author: Ben Settle is a direct response copywriter and email marketing strategist.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?

by Brian Clark founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter and Google+.

"...At least once a year, various pundits declare ponderously that blogs are dead … usually killed by some platform that we label as “social media.” One year it’s Facebook, another it’s Twitter, then it’s Google+. The platforms seem to change a lot more quickly than the arguments. 
Those declarations are built, at least in part, on the mistaken notion that blogging and social media are different and distinct things...."  Read Brian's blog here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Which Social Sharing Button is Right for Your Brand

Originally posted on The Search Agents by 
There are just so many darn social sharing buttons these days, and content marketing is more important than ever. As a user, it has created a moment of decision of choosing which channel  to share a particular news story, or cute video. The goal is to have as many network peers see the content, enjoy it, and re-share. There’s no shame in admitting gratification in people liking something you share.
As a marketer, its important to help users make this decision easily, and also ensure that your content is shared with the appropriate audience on the right channels. The best way to help users along the content sharing path is social sharing buttons. There are so many buttons to choose from, but highlighting them all can cause confusion the open the possibility of sharing to the wrong demographic.
Next time you want to share a piece of content, whether it be an article, blog post, video, or image, think about who you’d like to see it. Take a look at our infographic to learn about which buttons play well with girls, boys, nerds, jocks, and class clowns alike.