Friday, January 6, 2017

Sticks and Stones: The Power of Words

Funny thing happened when I posted this simple sentence on Facebook: I need to be inspired! Apparently, I should have been more specific. I need to be inspired to write my next book. The responses to that phrase ranged from generous thoughts to some outright and strange nastiness. One guy said: Look in the mirror and count your blessings??? Another guy responded with “clown ass, I don’t think she needs to hear that…” About this time, I’m laughing over the word “clown ass” … okay, new phrase. Not entirely sure why anyone would get all “pissy” over the request for inspiration, though.

The interesting point is the power of words and interpretation. A general statement turned into something that people were either telling me nice things are being jerks about. A broad range of reactions to something so innocuous and simple. Makes you think about it, doesn’t it?

In Lance Casazza’s forthcoming book Thank God for Layovers: Take your life from coach to first class, he identified the power of HOW we say something and its impact on the receiver of that communication. He gave a great story about how a blind man had a sign that read: I’m blind. Need help. A woman comes up and rewrites the sign and he starts getting immediate assistance. The woman changed the message to: It’s a beautiful day but I can’t see it.

Think about how that applies to your sales and lead generation. What words are you using to get people to work with you or buy your product? I started thinking about it. Writing and communicating from a position of LACK vs. positive ideas and beneficial outcomes. Words can impact emotions. Words can influence people. Words can change lives. The reason you should never say something mean to anyone is you can’t take it back. Once you’ve said it, it’s out there.

I recently read some great pitch Subject lines designed to get an editor’s attention. A fabulous tip the author suggested was never to use phrases like: Book Pitch. Let me be specific. I am working on the public relations campaign for the Habits and Attitudes book. A great pitch line might be for a Valentine’s subject:
Make someone fall in love with just the right attitude

I booked Lance on the radio show Get Real with Bob & Stacey that airs out of Boston based on this pitch. They posted a query looking for entrepreneurs and authors. My subject line read:

Two Birds with One Stone – An Author AND Entrepreneur

Notice I didn’t use or reference anything to do with “pitch”. I addressed what the query was asking for in the description. They were looking for either an author or entrepreneur. My client is both – win! My bet that paid off was to immediately communicate that my proposed guest for their show met ALL of their needs.

When you’re pitching your book to various media and book reviewers, here is an important tip:

Don’t pitch from the viewpoint of here is my book for you. Pitch from the perspective of how can I serve or meet a need for you.

The latter idea aims to meet their needs. Reality is that journalists and editors NEED your content. You can help them meet their professional goals by giving them something they’re looking for in the first place. Sometimes you forget that the media NEEDS sources and content. Notice the name Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They’re asking for content. Your job is to show them HOW your content meets their NEED NOT the other way around.

For all of my many Friend-Os I am here as an excellent publicist, too. Are you not getting the proper responses to your pitches? Are your book sales flat? Then it’s time to start a strong public relations campaign to increase your book or product’s visibility. People can’t buy a book they’ve never heard about. I’ve got a leg up on many other publicists because I was a magazine editor and publisher for 15 years. I’ve been on both sides of the desk and I know how the media thinks.

Contact me at if you want to increase your visibility and therefore sales.

No comments:

Post a Comment