Archive for the 'Success Tips' Category

Media@SAfm Features Media Alerts

Robynn Burls talks to Ashraf Garda on Media@SAfm about Encyclomedia’s new service, Media Alerts. Listen to the interview and visit the Media Alerts website to find out more about this new free service.

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Decor Editors Share Publicity Tips

I attended PR-Net last night in Green Point, Cape Town, where several top decor editors spoke about the unique selling points of their specific home/decor magazines, plus tips on how they’d like to interact with PR people and publicists.

I’ll share some of the tips with you here:

Anneke Blaise, Home/Tuis magazineAnneke Blaise from Home/Tuis magazine says that she really appreciates face-to-face contact. She wants to know who she’s dealing with and invites PR practitioners to visit their offices once a month, or whenever appropriate to discuss ideas, show products, or simply just put a face to an email.

Bianca Du Plessis, Conde Nast House & Garden

Bianca Du Plessis from Conde Nast House & Garden says that she finds it surprising that people don’t realise that they work three months in advance. That means that the issues for December and January have already been sorted. Bianca suggests that PR people should find out what issue they’re working on and enquire about the feature calendars.

Bianca also explained how tricky gardening features can sometimes be. Because of their three months production schedule, a picture of a beautiful Spring garden in full bloom wouldn’t reach them in time for the Spring edition. So unless they have a good library of pics, they sometimes work on their gardening features one year in advance.

Johan van Zyl, Visi“Be concise” is the advice from Johan van Zyl of Visi. They have a small editorial team and he fills the roles of three people, therefore he says he often suffers from “inbox rage x3″. Johan recommends that you familiarise yourself with the magazine and then speak to the right person depending on the section you want to appear in. Visi is different in several ways from other decor magazines, so Johan is looking for an angle (preferably exclusive) that would be perfect for the Visi reader.

Lauren Shantall, Elle DecorationBoth Johan and the next speaker, Lauren Shantall of Elle Decoration, spoke about the “non-exclusive exclusives”. No magazine wants to feature something that appears in several other competing titles at the same time. They lose credibility with their readers and you will certainly lose the editor’s trust. All that they ask is that you are honest about what other magazines plan to feature your product/brand/company so that they can decide what type of angle would work best for them.

On this topic, Brian Berkman raised a valid point. Journalists also have a responsibility here to answer PR emails on whether they plan to use the content or not. When you don’t get an answer, it’s difficult to know when you can start pitching the idea to other titles and you might miss the production deadline in the meantime. As Brian said, a “no” is better than hearing nothing.

Back to Lauren, she says that she prefers to receive the high res pics upfront, as it saves her time. Please note though that this is certainly not the case for all journalists - they won’t be happy if you crash their inbox. Use Encyclomedia’s media database research service to give you all the journalists’ individual  preferences and pitching tips.

Lianne Burton, House and LeisureLianne Burton from House and Leisure says that they aim to promote all the positives of life in South Africa. The new look magazine launches in January 2009 and, given that the competition was sitting right next to her, she couldn’t really reveal too much except that the new slogan is “stylish SA at home and play” and it includes a beauty section. They’re big into eco angles, so there are some great PR opportunities there too.

Thanks to Mike from Wesson Digital Photography for the photographs.

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How To Banish Bad Habits and Achieve Better Results

In his fantastic book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield says that “whatever habits you currently have established are producing your current level of results”.

Now add to that the fact that, according to psychologists, 90% of our behaviour is habitual. From the way you get out of bed in the morning, to the way you eat your cereal, to the way you change gears in your car - these are all habits that you’ve created and you do them automatically without much thought involved.

Habits like these are incredibly useful, because what’s really happened is that you’ve repeated a particular activity so many times that you’ve stored it in your subconscious mind, which frees your conscious mind to concentrate on any other activity or thought.

As an example of this, remember when you first learned to drive a car? With all of the coordination and concentration required, it was very difficult to try and hold any kind of conversation at the same time. But after consistent practice, once the actions became habitual, you could then easily have a conversation with passengers, listen to the radio and perhaps even notice the billboards as you drive past.

Out with the bad, in with the good
Of course, the problem comes in when you have habits that don’t serve you. Because you’re doing many of these automatically from the subconscious mind, you’re not always aware that you’re doing it. So the first step to making any positive change is to first recognise what habits aren’t really working for you or helping you create the results you want.

But this is the easy part, right? With a little introspection you can spot the things you know you should change - like procrastinating on certain phone calls, arriving late for meetings, forgetting people’s names seconds after meeting them. But once you’ve decided what habits you plan to change, it’s important to come up with a support plan to keep you on track - and this is the hard part.

How many New Year’s resolutions have you really kept past the end of February? The truth is that habits aren’t too easy to replace, unless you understand the techniques of how to create and maintain new ones. In Jack Canfield’s book, he explains that research now shows that if you repeat a behaviour for 13 weeks, it’s yours for life. It’s a heck of a lot longer than the 21 days I always thought it took, but now at least I understand why my good intentions always fizzled out after those first 21 days.

Action steps to change your habits
So what are the tips to make sure you follow through for 13 weeks?

  • Choose to focus on one new habit at a time. Don’t water down your efforts by trying to achieve everything at once.
  • Put reminders everywhere - post-it-notes on your PC, reminders on your cell, notes on the fridge, etc.
  • Ask a colleague to remind you every day and keep you accountable for following through.

“The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might and force of habit. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him - and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that will help him achieve the success he desires.” - J. Paul Getty (Widely regarded as the richest man in the world by the late 1950s.)

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