Leslie J. Thompson

Dynamic Writer and Speaker with a Background in Journalism, Marketing Communications and Ghostwriting

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Entries Tagged as 'Random Musings'

Highlight Your Expertise with an eBook

June 18th, 2012 ·

As iPads, Kindles and Nooks continue to gain traction among avid readers, eBooks surpassed hardcover books for net sales revenue in the first quarter of 2012, according to GalleyCat. This is great news for business owners and independent consultants. Why? Because eBooks are much easier to bring to market than traditional print titles, and they provide an opportunity to promote your expertise to an exponentially larger audience than a traditional marketing campaign.

Having a published book to your name is viewed as an instant credibility builder. People don’t care much about whether the book is long or short, or whether it ever made the bestseller list. The mere fact that you have documented your knowledge and insights in book form indicates to outsiders that you are an authority on a given subject. Your book says, “I’m an expert.” People trust experts, and people do business with people they trust. The math is simple: Write a book, get more business.

Of course, a lot of legwork is still involved in translating your tome into increased revenue. But, the growing trend toward eBooks has reduced the amount of effort considerably. (more…)

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Tags: Random Musings

PR Secrets: 3 Tips for Getting Media Coverage

September 3rd, 2011 ·

Recently, I have been writing a number of press releases for clients. This can be tricky business, because you need to engage the reader rather than simply announce an event, so that your news is deemed worthy of reporting by the media. My background in journalism serves me well, because I know what reporters are looking for and how to pique their interest. If you are rolling out a new product or service, here are three quick tips to generating media buzz with your press release:

    Dallas freelance writer Leslie Thompson shares PR strategies

  1. Find the Hook – You only have to pick up a paper or watch the evening news to quickly see which topics are the hot stories for reporters. Everybody will be covering the same issue, whether it’s the economy, a political dispute, new technology, or a recent natural disaster. Your press release is more likely to be picked up if you can tie into these happenings and ride the wave of news coverage. Reporters have to pitch ideas to their producer or managing editor before getting the green light, and you can help them demonstrate the relevance of your story by linking it to other events that are getting coverage currently.
  2. Look for Lulls – The best time to send out a press release is during a news lull. Since half of the news that gets reported each day has to do with happenings in the local, state and federal government, generally there is a lull in the news is when government offices are closed. Try to time your announcements to national holidays, like Memorial Day or Columbus Day, when reporters are eager to find filler for the long weekend. If you can tie your topic into the holiday somehow, even better. Either way, you are more likely to grab a reporter’s attention when you are not competing with current affairs on the political front.
  3. Pick Up the Phone – Wire services, like PRWeb.com, are great resources for reaching thousands of local and national news outlets, but contacting a reporter directly is still the best way to get their attention. Find out who covers your beat in the local market; for example, if you are promoting a new tutoring service, research who covers education issues for your local paper or television news stations. Check out some of their latest work and give them a call. Briefly introduce yourself, tell them how much you enjoyed their recent story on ________, and then suggest another story they might be interested in (namely, yours). By demonstrating that you are familiar with their work and providing them with a solution – a lead on another story – you become an ally to the journalist, rather than a nameless person or company looking for media coverage on the wire.

As in any industry, making personal connections and nurturing those relationships will serve you well when you are generating buzz about your product or service. Don’t merely limit your PR efforts to the news media, but also get the word out to executives and industry insiders who might be able to help you land speaking engagements, or make a direct introduction to a reporter or producer. Also, make sure you have a plan to follow-up with targeted contacts when you do send out information, whether on the wire or via fax or email. Persistence pays off in PR, and picking up the phone could result in that coveted interview you’ve been seeking.

Need a press release for your business? Contact Dallas freelance writer Leslie J. Thompson at 214-704-6661.

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Tags: Random Musings

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter (And Why You Should, Too)

September 12th, 2010 ·

I like to eat – both for sustenance and for pleasure. As such, I have found it necessary to earn an income so I can purchase yummy food stuffs that keep me nourished and content. The type of work I do to earn said income, however, has changed significantly over the years.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, my focus was entirely on print—magazines, newsletters, brochures and the like. Occasionally, I would venture out into direct mail or press releases, but for the most part, my text appeared on glossy stock next to fancy pictures that made the words look extra special.

Then along came the Internet. By the end of the 1990s, I was writing mainly for the Web, with only occasional magazine assignments to keep me grounded. Since then, I have continued to hone my craft online, learning the ins and outs of SEO content and how to navigate WordPress. I still do plenty of newsletters and brochures, but I also frequently take on work ghostwriting blogs or crafting clever meta tags.

I never understood exactly what Twitter had to offer. What can you really say in 140 characters or less?

Although I enjoy writing for the Web, I have been reluctant to fully embrace one component of the online environment: social media. Sure, I have a Facebook account. I use it to keep abreast of viral YouTube videos and prayer chains and cute things my nieces are doing in Dayton, Ohio. I do not, however, use it to grow my business.

I also have a Twitter account, which I created last year when my husband created his and then promptly ignored. I never understood exactly what Twitter had to offer. What can you really say in 140 characters or less? Is the sole purpose of Twitter to keep bit.ly in business with shortened hyperlinks to longer articles?

Then I heard the gospel according to Scott Stratten, and it all became clear.

Stratten is a social media expert and was the keynote speaker at PubCon Dallas earlier this year. He is funny, self-effacing and insightful. He has studied social media since Twitter first built its nest on the Web, and he understands the intricacies of marketing in a Web 2.0 world. In short, he gets it.

Now I get it. I get that Twitter is a way to connect with people in your own industry—colleagues, clients, and prospects—to share information and have a casual chat. I get that it’s like a cocktail party where you might overhear an interesting conversation, introduce yourself to one of the speakers, and strike up a new friendship. I get that it takes time to get to know people—just like in real life—but once you do, they might have need of your services, or recommend you to someone else, or give you an idea that can help you with your business.

Twitter is fun. It’s addictive. It’s frustrating. Using Twitter well requires patience and discipline. It can be a powerful tool to help you grow your company and engage with customers, but you have to commit. Most importantly, you have to be generous. You don’t want a complete stranger walking up to you at a party to tell you what they’re selling, so don’t do it to your tweet peeps. Find out what they need. Point them toward useful resources. Be a solution provider, and soon enough, your followers will come to you for solutions.

But don’t take my word for it—Scott’s the expert. Pick up his new book, Un-Marketing, at any major bookseller. Then let me know what you think. You’ll find me on Twitter @lesliejthompson.

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Tags: Random Musings