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Is HARO For You?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 8, 2012
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Back in January I wrote a post titled Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves. One of the things I talked about in that post was how so many of us miss out on opportunities to get publicity that don’t cost us any money, maybe only a little bit of effort. And I added that I’m the same way often, which is easily true.

Enter HARO, which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. Its main purpose is to connect reporters with people who might have information they need and the urge to gain publicity. From our end, the non-reporters, we can sign up to receive email 3 times a day with requests from both news and magazine reports to respond to any of the multiple links that may be something that describes us. This isn’t like a job where you respond to things that don’t quite fit what you do but you have the skills for. The needs are very specific, and thus if it’s you, you’ll know it.

This is my second foray into HARO; I don’t even remember when I was a part of it the first time around. I also don’t remember why I signed up to try it again, but somehow I’m thinking I have to blame Beverly Mahone in some fashion because of her talking about PR and getting publicity for your business. After being with it for the last 3-4 weeks, it’s time to ask the question “Is HARO for you?”

As I mentioned, you get email 3 times a day if you sign up for it. The email always starts off with an advertisement, but it’s totally text. I don’t have a problem with that, and you shouldn’t either. Next comes the requests, and I’ve seen as few as 25 and as many as 60. They’re categorized to help you get through them quicker, although it’s possible that you may be able to address the interests in categories that aren’t specifically geared for your business. For instance, I once responded to a query from someone looking to talk to dependents of military personnel who traveled a lot, since I certainly lived that life.

What’s my issue? Including the first time I was with HARO I’ve never had one person ever respond back to me. Now, one could surmise that they found what they were looking for beforehand, and that’s obviously true. Still, how do you feel when you visit a lot of blogs, leave what you think are pretty good comments, and never get an acknowledgment?

You feel like you’ve just wasted your time, that’s what. And that’s how I often feel with HARO. I’ve tried it a couple of different ways. A few times I responded and gave my story entirely, thinking that if they saw everything up front they’d at least contact me to ask for more, whether they used it or not. A few times I’ve gone minimalistic, giving some information but not going into any details, seeing if the “tease” was enough to get their attention.

Nope, nada, zip. Now, the site tells you that all these big time news sources use their services in looking for people to talk to and get information from, which is pretty enticing. But when you look at the emails, the majority of what you get certainly isn’t coming from big media. However, I didn’t sign up expecting NBC to come calling to ask me about anything. My hope was to possibly get into a couple of magazines, where people can read what you have to say and hopefully like it enough to look for you online.

So, is HARO for you and me? I’m not really sure yet, but I remember I had the same feeling the first time I left, and I’m getting that same feeling now. I mean, going through potentially hundreds of links and responding to some via email only to hear the sound of a vacant room without the echo as a response… is it worth the time? I’m thinking I learned better methods from Bev’s book How To Get On The News Without Committing Murder, and have made a couple of local contacts because of it.

Still, I’m not ready to let go just yet, so I’m going to give it another couple of weeks to see if I’m getting more irritated or whether I feel it’ll all work out in the end. Right now, I know which way I’m leaning, and I bet you do as well.
 

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Is Anyone Listening To You On Twitter?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 15, 2011
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Later today in my area we’re having a tweetup at a local hotel. This is different than the norm in that the hotel is helping to sponsor the event, whereas normally someone decides where to meet and we just show up there.


by Jonathan Powell

The link above will take you to the post I wrote about the upcoming event. I had it show up yesterday early afternoon, since it’s not my event, and of course it gave me something to write about. I waited a couple of hours to see if it would take, then I asked some people specifically if they were going.

To my surprise, every person I asked about it said they didn’t know anything about the event. When I asked if they’d seen the link to the post I wrote about it, they said no and that they each get so many messages that it’s hard to keep up. This also surprised me since it had only been out a couple of hours; what’s going on here.

First I stated that particular thing about my post. Then I mentioned that the news had been on Twitter for at least 3 weeks or so, and that it’s surprising they hadn’t seen it from anyone else. They countered saying maybe they didn’t follow the same people I do, but I knew that to be a crock. Even one of the top social media people from Syracuse University had retweeted the event; I know few people locally that I follow that don’t follow her.

It got me thinking about a lament I’ve written on not being well known where you live. I’ve been attributing a lot of it to the general lack of interest it seems I get from local people via Twitter and how I’d love to be seen more prominently locally, which Twitter is something that affords us the opportunity to do. However, some of the people who were helping to promote this thing are big on social media locally, yet it seems that even their tweets were missed whenever someone was talking about the pending tweetup.

I’ve talked about some people who have high Twitter numbers and wondered whether those numbers really meant anything or not. Of course I tend to think they don’t because I visit many of these people when supposedly they’re starting to follow me and I don’t see many of them engaging with anyone else. I’m always thinking “who wants to continually read links and the like from all these people they don’t know”?

I think the answer is “no one”. When all is said and done, Twitter can be a great medium for reaching out to the masses, but the masses have to be paying attention at the time one puts something out there. For instance, when I wrote my post about how Finish Line treated me as a customer and an affiliate, I really expected it was something that local Twitter folks would jump on to a degree; after all, we have a couple of those stores locally, kind of prominent. It got maybe two local people who said anything, and mostly people who weren’t from here reposting it. I was thinking it was just my voice at the time that people were ignoring, but it seems to be prevalent for almost everyone’s voice.

In an odd way, that kind of points out one of the major failings of social media. Yes, statistics prove that companies that start to employ some social media aspects grow in the number of prospects they can reach, but social media can’t seal the deal, and it can’t help if no one is listening. Even with 50,000 people following, if no one is specifically looking out for you then your message is falling on mainly deaf ears. That’s disconcerting to say the least.

How do we cut through some of the Twitter blather to be seen and heard there? What makes the few people that may or may not have figured it out seen and heard and responded to? I think that’s the next great study; I wonder if I’ll be trying to do it… nah!

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Why I’m Now “Mitch Mitchell”

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 15, 2011
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I know the title of this post could seem confusing to some people, but to others they’re probably only now getting another introduction to who I am. My name is Mitch Mitchell; has been for, oh, at least 35 years or do. “Mitch” isn’t the first name I was born with; no, I’m not giving it, but for some people it’s not hard to find. I just don’t choose to use the name, haven’t since I was 16, but people who met me through someone else who gave them the other name tend to use it . Since I don’t like it, I just choose not to tell it to anyone, even if my main organization is called T. T. Mitchell Consulting, Inc.

For all the years I’ve been blogging I’ve always gone by Mitch. It really hadn’t occurred to me to have it being anything else. Yet, at some point near the end of last year I figured it was time to start putting my entire name into blogging. I really hadn’t thought much about it until I started writing my posts about influence. Realizing that I wanted a bigger slice of the blogging and overall internet and social media pie, and other reasons, it suddenly came to me that many people by this time might know “Mitch”, but they didn’t know “Mitch Mitchell”.

Of course, just saying that means nothing without some background. So, here’s a part of the thought process for it all, something that you might think for yourself at some point.

1. I have a lot of articles on the internet. I have my EzineArticles posts. I have articles on my S&S site. I have articles on a lot of other websites that I’m not going to list. I’m in a lot of regular magazines as well, many of them health care related, but other topics as well. I started thinking that it would be easier for people who might see some of that stuff to realize that I’m the same guy who was writing all that stuff, even if it’s across the board.

2. There’s one prominent Mitch Mitchell and one a little less prominent that I’m competing in name against. Let’s face it, I’m not going to overtake the Mitch Mitchell who used to play drums for Jimi Hendrix any time soon, deceased or not. His first name wasn’t really Mitch either, but John. There’s also a reporter for the newspaper in Fort Worth whose name I see all the time; being born in Fort Worth, that’s a strange coincidence to say the least. I think I compete with him on a regular basis; at least in the top 50 listings of the name I come up at #16 because of my business blog, and at #23 because of this blog. As a matter of fact, out of the top 50 listings only 2 of them aren’t me or the drummer, and none of them the reporter; I can live with that. :-)

3. There’s another “Mitch”. Actually, I’ve known of Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs for many years, but our paths rarely crossed until fall of last year when we both ended up on BloggerLuv (which I’m not putting up a link for because it’s possibly gone forever, as it’s not showing up anymore for now) and started talking. Suddenly, being “Mitch” didn’t make much sense anymore with their being two of us showing up in a lot of the same places, and he’d always had his last name attached so it made sense that I do it as well.

4. For that matter, there are a lot of “Mitch’s” out there, even some female ones. Sure, my image accompanies me on most blogs, but I’ve found that if you don’t have a Typepad account your image won’t show up there. Suddenly, I’m just “Mitch” on the wind without any real recognition of who I might be. At least being listed under my full name will get me fairly quickly on a search engine; just the first name wasn’t going to cut it.

5. Of course, my business name is T. T. Mitchell, and I could have gone with that, as I did on LinkedIn. However, it’s so weird having people calling me “T. T.” there, and I’m trying to figure out if I can change it. In the long run whenever I meet people and they call me that I tell them to call me Mitch, and I realized I didn’t want to get into that kind of confusion across the board.

And there you go. It might seem like kind of a complicated process, but I’ve noticed many of you who comment here use both your first and last name, and since I have a long range goal for using my full name it makes sense for me to change over to it now. From a marketing standpoint, it seems to be a no-brainer. In my opinion, it’s much better than a keyword name any day of the week. What are your general thoughts on the subject?

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How Ready Are You To Be Interviewed?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 21, 2011
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Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Carolee Sperry’s Blog Talk Radio show called Blogging Biz Mom. She does this show every Wednesday at 6:30, and I was honored to be the guest this time around. The show only lasts 30 minutes, and though I can’t say I’ve caught close to all of them, I have listened to a couple here and there when I’ve had the chance. If you’d like to listen to the interview we did, you can download it here; it’s an MP3, and I’m sure Carolee doesn’t mind. It’s publicity after all.

I love being interviewed. I want more of it, I must admit. Doesn’t matter if it’s print or radio or internet radio, I’m ready. I’m not sure the world is ready for me on TV or with a live audience, but maybe one day we’ll find out. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m always ready to be interviewed. Beverly Mahone has these tips on preparing for a successful interview, and though they’re great tips, I have to own up to the fact that I have rarely done any of those things.

The couple of times I did do it was when Beverly invited me to help her host a couple of shows on older music. In that case I really did do some research and gather some facts on the acts we were going to talk about because, though I knew much of the music and the names, I didn’t know much detail about those songs or the artists; I was kind of young at the time after all.

I want to go in a different direction in talking about being interviewed. I think there’s a mental preparation one has to go through to make sure you’re ready. After all, this isn’t like a speech, where you get to write the entire thing down, memorize it, practice it, then repeat it perfectly to an awaiting audience. This is live, and you have to be calm, collected, funny, engaging, and above all else not come across as nervous.

This last one is a key if you’re being interviewed about something you’re promoting, whether it’s you or something else. If you don’t sound confident, then people are going to think you’re unsure about your business. That’s obviously not true, but if that’s the perception you put out then they’ll feel it and you might as well find a new career.

So here goes, tips for getting ready for an interview:

1. Grab something, act like it’s a microphone, and practice talking. As silly as you might think this is I don’t know a single person who had access to a pen or pencil as a kid that didn’t at least once act like they were doing a radio or TV show. What you want to practice is your “live” voice. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to make sure that you speak clearly, speak loud enough without shouting, and not speak so fast that no one knows what you’re saying. You might feel a little silly initially, but you’ll feel natural in no time at all. If you have to practice singing; the right voice will eventually come to you.

2. Sit in a chair while you rehearse. Most interviews you’ll be a part of will have you sitting down. Your diaphragm, where your air comes from when you’re speaking, is a bit more compressed than when you’re standing up. Strange as it seems, you’ll run out of air quicker speaking while sitting than standing if you’re in a stressful situation. Interviews aren’t supposed to be stressful, but you might find it that way. If so, make sure you do this step.

3. Think of at least 5 possible questions you might be asked. This should be really easy because you’re being interviewed about something you do that the person on the other side wants to learn something about. It’s rare that you’ll be interviewed by someone who’s an expert at what you do, but even if they are who says all experts agree with each other? Unless you’ve done something wrong or the person interviewing you is mad at you, there won’t be many “gotcha” moments. In some circumstances interviewers will ask you to give them questions you wish to be asked; that’s makes things really simple.

4. Think of terms you can use to help you buy time in case you can’t come up with a quick answer. I actually did an interview of someone last year for my business blog and I wrote 13 questions up front that I didn’t have the chance to share with her before we began. For more than half of them she thought about it for a few seconds, then led with “Wow, that’s a great question.” It bought her time to formulate what she wanted to say.

5. Be calm. Remember that someone came to you and asked you do to the interview. This means they really want you to do well, and they really believe their audience will like you. No matter what the topic is, at that moment you’re the expert, the star, the one everyone came to hear. This wasn’t an assignment you had to do; this is fun. See it that way and you’ll do just fine.

And there you go. And if you listen to the interview above and want more, you can check out these other interviews I’ve done.

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The Term “Influence” Does Mean A Lot

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 5, 2011
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Last week I was reading a post by Chris Brogan titled Improve Your Influence. The most interesting thing I found in the post was actually the first line, where he stated “The term “influence” doesn’t mean a lot, and yet, it seems to be the holy grail for online social media people“. The reason it was so interesting is that the rest of his post indicated that he pretty much understands how influential he is, whether he was trying to get there or not, and some of the name dropping, which I’m going to do some day (smile), shows that he knows and has talked to some fairly influential people.

social circles of influence
Social Circles of Influence
by Anne Adrian

Being more influential in 2011 is one of my goals for the year, and I figure this blog is probably the one that’s going to help me get there. It was actually because of a comment made by Chris on one articles that prompted my post asking how I could be useful to some of you, and I thank those of you who responded. It pretty much gave me permission to be, well, more of me this coming year, which in turn helps some of y’all be more of you. In a way, it made me think of two lines from the movie Happy Feet, both of which most of us should have in our repertoire of favorite lines, even if we keep them to ourselves; to whit:

I hear the world wanting something… Me!!!

Thank you; I’ll take a moment for myself.

So far I’ve followed some bits of advice in working on that influence thing. I wrote a post where I pretty much showed every link I knew of that talked about me in some fashion.

I’ve given thoughts to the messages I’m trying to project with this blog an realized that me talking about, well, pretty much everything, seems to work for me here, as long as I don’t deviate too much from the norm too often; no promises on that one, but it does prove to be a good thing that I have that other blog to keep me grounded somewhat.

I’ve set up ways for people to like me on Facebook or retweet posts they like. And I’m still figuring out new ways to use social media to work on that influence thing.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that a big part of our becoming more influential with our blogs or social media actually coincides with three of our favorite characters from the Wizard of Oz. Let me explain; stay with me on this one.

The Scarecrow said he needed a brain. The Wizard gave him a diploma. If you check your thesaurus, another word that can be used for diploma is “credentials”. Those of us who write about things that we have the credentials for and can prove it on a consistent basis have a great opportunity to increase our influence as we go along.

The Tin Man said he needed a heart. The Wizard gave him a testimonial, which meant that he honored the Tin Man in a way that others could see the type of person he was. When we acknowledge others at times, like I did in my 5 Top 10′s post, he not only help boost them but we boost ourselves because we show that we know it’s not only about us. Very few people succeed on their own; that’s a hard lesson to learn. Touting others helps your influence because it will come back to you in spades (I wonder what that phrase actually means).

The Cowardly Lion said he lacked courage. The Wizard gave him a medal and called him a hero. I tend to believe that every person that writes a blog and continues writing, even when it seems somewhat fruitless, is a hero, and eventually heroes are noted by someone for their contributions. Heroes also help other solve problems, or gain perspective about things, and that’s also a big part of blogging. Become a hero and your influence will definitely grow.

I don’t try to make my bones by disagreeing with someone whose words I’ve come to enjoy reading (but rarely comment on his blog because it’s a Disqus blog, and you know how I feel about that. In this case, I really don’t think I’m disagreeing with him overall, except for the perspective of the first line of that particular post. It just seems so obvious that whether one wishes to be influential or not, if they provide what he’s said and what I’ve written here, how can anyone not end up being influential? And if that’s occurring, then the “term” does mean a lot, as well as the actions that get us there.

Your thoughts on all of this?

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