“Say What?” Email Follow Up

By Booth Media Group

We’ve all gotten a garbled voicemail message from a number we don’t recognize. And we’ve all struggled to make heads or tails out of the message because due to interference, poor reception, or a thick accent, it is next to impossible to tell who is talking or what they want. We listen to the message over and over and might even call in a friend or colleague to listen as well: “What name did he say? Can you tell? Did he say Brenda or Barbara or Burrito? Argh!”

These kinds of miscommunication happen, but they are no good for productivity or collaboration. It is so refreshing to hear instead, “Hi Mary, it’s Jeff. I’m calling to tell you I have the check for you. Please call me back and let me know where we can meet so I can give it to you.” This message is very clear. You know who it’s from, who it’s for, what the person leaving it expects to accomplish, and there is no guess work about results.

It might seem like email communication should be easy. After all, words on the screen aren’t at the mercy of reception or accents, though spelling and grammar can indeed get in the way sometimes. But when we are emailing a producer or media contact out of the blue wanting them to say, “yes,” it is vital that our message is crystal clear. What, exactly, do we want them to say, “yes” to? Don’t make them guess!

I don’t know about you, but getting an email from a colleague that is vague, circular, and never gets to the point is one of the most annoying time-wasters in my day. Don’t make me guess what you want! Just tell me (nicely!)

“Hello Joe, I hope you’re having a great day. I’ve got a client I think would be a great guest on the show! Let me tell you why, and I hope you’ll want to book an interview.” This tells Joe exactly what I want without being pushy. It’s still up to Joe to read over my reasons why and decide yay or nay, but now he can read the rest of the pitch knowing what I expect. Everybody wins in this situation.

If you’re not getting the responses that you want, maybe it’s time to be more direct while still being pleasant and personable (see our latest blog post here on Timeless Truths about PR.)

One last point about email. Sometimes you have to email the same person about the same message several times. Don’t just copy and paste the same words over and over. Spice things up a bit with different subject lines (even, “Have you thoughts more about….” Or “Great Guest for you…”,) different pitch bullet points (did anything new happen in the news since last time you emailed?) and different attachments (or no attachments at all.) The media read thousands upon thousands of emails a day, so make their lives a little easier and more interesting by sending clear and direct emails.

A Different Kind of New Year: 2016

from Booth Media Group

Setting new year’s resolutions is certainly a time-honored tradition, and publicists are no different. We all want to be healthier, stronger, more financially secure, etc. We talk about signing up for classes, joining a gym, eating more vegetables, reading bigger books, and generally improving ourselves. 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, but only about 8% will be successful in reaching those goals.

What if our goals were different this year? Let’s not be part of the 55% who never make resolutions January 1st, or part of the 92% of those who do make them but don’t succeed. Instead of focusing on bettering ourselves (making ourselves look better, seem more interesting, or have more money), what if our goals were focused on making the lives of other people better by spending quality time with them, serving them, and spending more energy thinking about their needs than our own?

Consider setting goals like: spending an hour a week helping at a homeless shelter or with your elderly neighbor, giving 10% more to charity each month, spending an hour a week with your parents or grandparents, putting down your phone and taking a friend out for coffee instead, or teaching a class at the community center. Help mentor a child or teenager who is struggling with homework, home life, or where to go to college.

Writing these goals down and putting them somewhere you can see them often has been found to help us keep resolutions. Also, telling your friends about your goals will help prompt you to follow through.

There is strength in numbers, so why not ask your co-workers and those who shop or work with you to join you in these resolutions? Form a group for volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or hold a neighborhood yard sale and give the proceeds to charity. Helping others can be more fun with friends.
Looking outward at others and taking action has been proven to reward us exponentially. Why not score a WIN/WIN in 2016?

Let us know what resolutions YOU and your friends will be making for next year.

What Exactly Does a PR Firm Do? Part Three

BMG

We’re finally here! We’re ending our three-part series about what a PR firm does with book tours.

Book tours are one of those things that, if you decide to pursue, should be handled by a PR agency. Pitching, following up, and booking interviews can be stressful and time consuming – so let a trained professional do it!

Deciding to embark on a book tour is like deciding to take a road trip across America. It’s not impossible by any means, but some planning and a map are highly recommended. Think of a PR agency as your road map and a trained guide all in one. We’re here to make sure you have a professionally planned and successful book tour.

When deciding on a book tour you should have a reason for traveling to specific cities. Having a conference, event or connection to the cities you’re touring in will give you the best media coverage.

At Booth Media Group we have booked hundreds of book tours so trust us when we say it takes dedication to have a successful campaign. When looking into a book tour, you must keep in mind that it is a full-time commitment for the duration of the tour. A good PR firm will start planning for a book tour at least 3-4 months in advance.

To make your book tour successful, besides hiring a PR firm, you should have a reason for touring in a city. If you’re going to Chicago, New York and Austin, you have to have a compelling reason for the media in each city to talk with you and learn about your book.

The hook for the media can be anything from having a conference in the city, having your book celebration or commenting on the anniversary of a major historical event, or even having a party at a restaurant in the city.

These local events will interest the media, who will then also talk with you about your over all message. It’s also very valuable to have friends in each tour city who can come to your events – and bring THEIR friends! With events, who you know can be very helpful, and there is really is strength in numbers. The media are more likely to be interested in you, and the venues are more likely to help promote you, if you can bring more warm bodies with you.

As crazy as a book tour might sound (and feel,) having a dedicated PR firm behind you (and before you) will help things go smoothly. They can even be fun!

Thanksgiving 2015

By Booth Media Groupthanksgiving2015

In 2015 the world has seen many things, many of them frightening and tragic. With terrorist bombings, school shootings, and other tragedies around the country and the world, it can be difficult sometimes to allow ourselves to feel thankful a
nd blessed. It can be difficult to remember the good, when times are dark. But it is very important to pause for a few moments each day – and especially on Thanksgiving – to remember and be grateful for the wonderful things in each of our lives, like the special, loving people who surround us.

Let’s not lose focus on what is truly important to us and what contributions each of us can make to better our lives and the lives of others. Let’s focus on all the moments in 2015 when we saw human beings helping each other and good things happening to those around us and to ourselves. Take a moment this Thanksgiving, and every day, to think of a couple of things or maybe a person or two that we are thankful for. Say those things out loud and let those people know they are special. Two minutes spent being grateful each day can dramatically improve your life and happiness. Why wait until 2016 to be happier and more grateful? Let’s start now.

Happy Thanksgiving from Booth Media Group.

Book Review: Confessions of a D.C. Madam

Book Cover by Booth Media Group

Henry Vinson’s true story of being caught in the sordid underbelly of the DC political web will have you on the edge of your seat. It would be hard to believe if it hadn’t actually happened: a respectable funeral director finds himself with a very successful gay escort service in Washington, DC. The initial success of this venture turns out to be a two-edged sword when his powerful clients need a scapegoat.

Written with sensitivity and honesty, Vinson and his co-writer Nick Bryant have captured the experience of growing up in a small Southern town, overcoming a number of devastating losses including the deaths of friends and family members, establishing a thriving funeral home career, only to have a gay male escort service make him a very successful and well-connected man. The good fortune changed course, however, when his powerful political clients decided he knew too much, and made him the fall-guy for their devious behavior.

Now is the time for the record to be set straight; get the true story straight from the man himself. Henry Vinson and Nick Bryant’s book is due for release on March 19, 2015 and is available for pre-order here: Confessions of a DC Madam.

GUEST POST: The Real Reason the Opposites Attract

By Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW
www.bloomwork.com

A little tension can sometimes be a good thing.

Did you ever think that it was a cruel joke of nature that most of us find ourselves attracted to people very much unlike us? I mean, wouldn’t it be an awful lot simpler and a lot less messy if we tended to be drawn to those whose personalities are more like our own rather than those who seem like they are polar opposites of us. Especially given the inclination that seems to be present in most humans to see the way that we are as the “correct” way and to try to influence the other person to become more like we are, rather than vice versa. It sure can make for some “interesting” dialogues.

But consider the possibility that those differences that can seem so problematic may actually be the very things that add spice and passion to your relationship, particularly its sexual aspects. We are drawn to others out of needs and desires that are unfulfilled in our lives, such as a desire to experience greater connection, security, love, support, and comfort. On the other hand, some of those unfulfilled longings have to do with their polar opposites, such as adventure, freedom, risk, challenge, and intensity. While these needs and desires may appear to be mutually exclusive, they not only can co-exist with each other, but in the process, generate a “tension of the opposites” that produces the passion that sustains, deepens and enlivens relationships.

In an age in which external cultural norms no longer sustain and enforce the continuation of long-term partnerships, the generating internal motivation, that which comes from within the relationship itself, is essential to its long-term growth and viability. The incentive to support that motivation comes from the ability of both partners to continue to co-create compelling experiences on an ongoing basis. While security, safety, closeness, and comfort are certainly qualities that characterize all fulfilling relationships, without a balance of excitement, passion, adventure, risk, and yes, even a certain degree of separateness, security becomes boredom, dependability becomes indifference, intimacy becomes claustrophobia, and comfort becomes stagnation. The French view this paradox, not as a problem, but as something to celebrate. Rather than say, “Oh merde,” (look it up if you aren’t sure what this means) when this apparent contradiction shows up in a relationship, they say, “Viva la difference!”

It’s “la difference” that makes relationships edgy, dynamic, exciting and a little scary. There is of course, a fine line between “a little scary” and frightening. And there is a fine balance between having enough danger in a relationship to make it stimulating and to keep it from dying from a lack of excitement.

As most of us know, those differences can and do show up in a lot of ways. Opposites, or perhaps more accurately, “complements” do attract. Introverts and extroverts, morning people and night people, impulsives and planners, steady plodders and adrenaline junkies, adventure-grabbers and security-seekers… there’s no denying the idea that something in us is drawn to people who counter some of our dominant inclinations with complementary tendencies. And while this can create some interesting challenges for most couples, these differences are actually the source of what is considered by many to be the source of the most important aspect of any successful relationship: chemistry. Chemistry refers to that undefinable quality that is the basis of the attraction that fuels the impulse to be drawn to another.

While the first thing that we consciously become aware of in meeting someone is their physical appearance, what determines the degree to which we find them attractive is something that is much more than skin-deep. It has to do with a feeling, an instinctive sense of the qualities and tendencies that may be all but invisible to the naked eye or to our conscious awareness, but are recognized by a kind of inner radar that identifies and responds to someone on a subconscious level. We’re probably asking some version of the question: “Is my experience of myself more whole, more complete with this person?”

When the answer is “yes” and the chemistry is strong, our relationship, particularly the sexual aspects of it, is likely to be powerfully compelling, particularly in the early stages, when the fire of infatuation is sufficient to ignite our mutual passion without much effort on anyone’s part. This intensity will continue without any effort or concern on either partner’s part until the elements of mystery, excitement, risk, and adventure that drive the feelings of infatuation burn out or atrophy. When a relationship is imbalanced because of and excessive amount of danger or threat, feelings of anxiety inevitably arise and create instability. This diminishes the feelings of security that are also important to the sustaining and deepening of the relationship. Similarly, an excessive attachment to security can diminish the excitement level and move the needle too far to the left on the security-adventure spectrum. Great relationships thrive on passion, particularly passionate lovemaking, and in trying too hard to avoid risk or novelty, we may inadvertently cool down the sexual heat by transforming our perception of our partner from a lover to a parent or a child.

A commitment to continual harmony and peacefulness can be as threatening to the integrity of a successful relationship as an excessive amount of risk, discord or disharmony. Creating this balance involves the ability to hold the tension of the opposites, without going too far over to one side or the other, which by the way is unavoidable. Fortunately when the inevitable occurs, as it occasionally does, it is possible to put in course corrections that can re-stabilize things. Sometimes we have to risk going too far in order to find out how far we can go. And, there is no fixed or correct point at which we can find some permanent balance. This is a dynamic process and the balance point between the two poles of security and adventure is constantly in flux, and influenced by the inner and outer realities of each partner and the needs of the relationship itself at any given moment.

Sounds complicated? Not really. It’s actually pretty simple, but simple isn’t necessarily easy. Particularly when your operating system has been wired from (or perhaps before) birth to have certain tendencies and inclinations. Influencing the system is possible, but it does take a willingness on the part of both people to be willing to risk moving into their partner’s world and accommodating their needs and values without compromising their own. Again, easier said than done.

Yet the more we practice being on either side of this process, the more capable we become of developing the kind of flexibility that passionate relationships require. And over time, the process of making the micro-adjustments that great relationships thrive on becomes effortless, natural, and even fun! There is, however for most of us, a learning curve that isn’t always fun, and can be,at least temporarily, unsettling. That seems to be the case for any new challenge that we step into. If we can overcome the initial resistance that is inherent in the process of making life changes, the long-term payoffs can be truly amazing and worth every moment of the process. But don’t take our word for it, find out for yourself!

Bio Note: Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been married since 1972. Trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors, they have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975.

They have lectured and taught at learning institutes throughout the USA, including the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the California Institute for Integral Studies, the Meridian University, John F. Kennedy University, the Crossings, Omega institute, the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, University of California at Berkeley Extension Program, the Hoffman Institute, and the World Health Organization. They have offered seminars throughout the world, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Denmark, Sweden, India, Brazil, and many other locations.

This post also appeared on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-bloom-lcsw-and-charlie-bloom-msw/the-real-reason-that-oppo_b_5654937.html

Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hitman

CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN

By Booth Media Group

One of our long-standing clients is author, speaker, teacher, and activist John Perkins. While he is in high demand these days from people who want to hear his story, his thoughts on how the world got into this mess we’re in, and his solutions for how we can get create a better future, he hasn’t always been so well known or so popular.

His major bestselling book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, is the brave and honest account of his days working as a henchman for the “corporatocracy,” his term for the powerful forces of giant corporations and big, corrupt government agencies that collude to exploit people and nations. Here he tells his story of being recruited and seduced by power and money, only to realize soon after that he could not live with what he was doing.

Breaking away from the powerful corporatocracy was a risky move, one that came with death threats, bribes, and other dangers. This book is a fast-paced, honest, and straightforward look at how the US and major companies have gained so much influence around the world, and what we can do to stop the corruption and create a future worth giving to our grandchildren.

GUEST POST: 21st Century Marriage: Crisis or Opportunity?

By Marcia Naomi Berger
www.marriagemeetings.com

I believe in marriage. This might sound naïve, what with half of first marriages ending in divorce and even higher failure rates happening in second and third marriages, respectively.

But there is a reason for so many marriage unhappy endings. Huge cultural shifts have occurred in recent decades. These changes have bred new expectations for marriage, which are often unconscious so that people lack clarity about why they are marrying; what they hope to gain from the union.

Until recently, most women needed marriage for financial security and social status. People, in general, are no longer stigmatized for living together and bearing children outside of marriage, or for being divorced. Currently most women hold jobs and a third of married women out-earn their husbands.

Clearly, the rules have changed. The old reasons for marrying, by and large, no longer apply. What looks like a current marriage crisis is the result of a widespread lack of understanding for how to create a satisfying 21st century marriage.

What most of us now really want, whether we know it or not, is a relationship that fulfills us emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically. When these needs are not met, spouses tend to blame their partner. Some blame the institution of marriage, saying it is obsolete.

I don’t think so. I think marriage is evolving—and that’s a good thing!

The vast majority of us can create lasting, loving marriages. We just need to learn how.

I’d like to propose a solution that has worked beautifully not only for my clients, but in my own marriage of over 25 years. You and your spouse agree to hold a weekly thirty minute “marriage meeting” with a simple format that covers all of the important aspects of your relationship. (Any two people who live under the same roof can benefit from holding similar meetings.)

A marriage meeting has four parts: Appreciation, Chores, Planning for Good Times, and Problems and Challenges. During Appreciation each of you takes an uninterrupted turn to say what you liked that your spouse did during the past week. Chores is the business part of the meeting. You each bring in your to-do list. Together, you agree as to who will take care of what task(s). Planning for Good Times is when you schedule a date for just the two of you, and perhaps also an enjoyable activity to do on your own. During Problems and Challenges, you talk about issues or lingering concerns. Start with light matters during early meetings and make sure to use positive communication skills.

An easy-to-resolve challenge might be telling your spouse that you’re trying to lose weight, so could he or she please either not bring home the junk food you find tempting or keep it somewhere where you’re not likely to see it. Once you’ve gained confidence by holding five or six successful meetings, more challenging topics can be introduced, like in-law issues, money, sex, and parenting concerns.

Some people object to the idea of a formal meeting. The trade-off is worth it though, because without an ongoing system for addressing details of our lives that need attention, it is easy to ignore them for too long. You might want to talk about something when your partner is otherwise occupied or decide to wait for a right time that never seems to come. If you do bring up a sensitive matter when your spouse’s mind is elsewhere, you might feel like you’ve entered a mine field.

Similarly, it’s easy to forget to express appreciation or to plan dates and other enjoyable, restorative activities. Chores can pile up or get mishandled. By scheduling times for marriage meetings, you will get to reconnect and feel valued by your spouse every week.

You’ve probably heard people explain their failed marriage by saying, “We just grew apart.” Couples do not grow apart; they drift away because they stop making time for each other. Marriage meetings provide a weekly wake-up call for staying connected emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.

Soon after our honeymoon, my husband and I took a class for couples that included a brief mention of the idea of holding a weekly marriage meeting. We’ve been holding meetings ever since then. I don’t know how we would have stayed happily married without them.

Every week we have a time to reconnect, feel appreciated, coordinate handling of business, plan dates together, and deal with whatever is on our minds. Because the meetings help to clear up misunderstandings promptly, we don’t accumulate grudges—which is enough of a reason by itself to hold marriage meetings. I give them major credit for our lasting happiness together.

Marriage meetings foster romance, intimacy, and teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues–a golden opportunity for your 21st century marriage!

You can buy Berger’s book Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love on Amazon!

Bio note: Psychotherapist and clinical social worker Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW, is the author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, where you will find detailed guidelines, step-by-step instructions for conducting each part of a Marriage Meeting agenda, and communication skills for successful meetings. www.marriagemeetings.com.

Book Review: “Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie”

Ruthless Ambition: The Rise and Fall of Chris Christie by Louis Michael Manzo is a fast-paced, fact-laden story of one innocent man’s involvement with a power-hungry politician, a politician who still has his sights set on the White House.

Lou’s account of how he was arrested as part of the “Bid Rig III” sting operation under Christie, how he lost everything including his run for Mayor of Jersey City, and how he was finally exonerated of all charges, gives a chilling first-hand look at the extent of Christie’s ambition.

As the 2016 election approaches, this is an important story for the American people to know. Lou is a gifted author, and we recommend this book for people of any political party who have an interest in justice.

Book Review: “No Better Time” by Molly Knight Raskin

By Jessica Muto

I recently had the privilege of reading Molly Knight Raskin‘s well-researched and inspiring biography of an unsung hero: Danny Lewin.

Danny Lewin’s life, from American teen growing up in Israel to member of the elite Israeli counter-terrorism force to computer genius at MIT, is the stuff of fiction. But it’s not.

A young man whose stubborn will and refusal to give up kept his small tech company Akamai alive during the dot.com crash had a mind that would have ensured his place with such greats as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs if he had lived past age 31.

After transforming the internet and making it possible to have the high speed we take for granted today, Danny Lewin boarded Flight 11 on September 11, 2001. We believe his counter-terrorism training and fierce courage made him the first victim of those terrorist attacks, when he was stabbed in the first class cabin trying to stop the hijackers.

Raskin’s account of his life is detailed and vivid, and she handles his death with delicacy and the honor due a hero.

If you use the internet at all, and if you remember 9/11 – I highly recommend this book.