These Awesome Press Releases Pack Sales Punch

By Ericka Simpson

Awesome press releases don’t just inform readers. Great press releases pack a recognizable sales punch.

I’ve seen the numbers of listeners at radio shows like Off The Shelf skyrocket after the radio show ran a press announcement for only two to three shows in a row.

Features in awesome press releases

Read these following important elements that are not only a part of awesome press releases but that can give your next releases a rock solid sales punch.

  • Must read headline. Add words that trigger emotion to your press release headlines. Buffer shares headline formulas. Smart Blogger, Freelance Writing Gigs and My Quick Idea are spots where you can get great words to use in headlines.

  • Focus on the advantages. Introduce readers to your products’ or services’ advantages right away. Share the name of your new products or services from the beginning. If you’re sending a press release to announce an event, give the name of the event, location and date and time immediately. Then, go right into the benefits that people will gain from using your products, services or by attending your event.
  • Expert backup. Awesome press releases include snippets of a testimonial or feature interviews from one to three industry experts. Thanks to social media, you can reach out to experts for testimonials and short, concise interviews directly from your computer. Don’t force people to rely on your word alone. Give them more proof that what you’re saying is accurate.
  • Inform and educate. List three to five major benefits about your event, product or service. Keep each item to five to six words, to force yourself to be as clear as possible. Use a paragraph of your awesome press releases to present this information. Write for industry insiders and novices.
  • Be honest. Elections prove how critical it is to be honest. Be honest about your pricing, service delivery turnaround, shipping costs, product guarantees and return policies. Set high goals that you and your team can consistently produce.
  • Be prepared. Prepare for consumer response. Staff up to handle customer orders and telephone calls. The last thing that you want is to send a press release that gets national exposure only to discover that you don’t have enough products on hand to meet customer demands.

Make your press releases better with these elements

  • Add amazing visuals. Forget stock images. Take pictures of your products yourself. Shoot for originality. To highlight your services, consider using professional models. Because they are your pictures, make the images work for you. Use the original pictures in videos, blogs, articles and on your website and social media pages. Definitely add the original pictures that you took yourself to your press releases. Top press release distribution services let you upload pictures when you’re submitting your news announcement.
  • Keywords. The right keywords are a must. Awesome press releases need to be found. Professional writers can help you write press announcements using targeted keywords.
  • Videos. Create a video so readers can see your products in action. Add a link to your video in your news announcement.
  • Contact information. Absolutely do not skip this step. You’d be surprised how many people do. Include your contact information at the bottom of your awesome press releases. Details to include with your contact information are: the name of your company, mailing address, website URL, phone number and a short one-paragraph summary of your business.

Decide on the right press release distribution service to pack the most sales punch. Distribution services that have an international or national reach could yield the best results. Also, keep regional and industry specific press release distribution services in mind. Key is to alert media experts to your latest products and new services regularly, at least once a month. Another important key is to choose distribution services that have real and valuable relationships with actual magazine and newspaper reporters, media writers and digital news professionals.

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Reducing business readiness symptoms

By Ericka Simpson

Passion and desire are hard to refuse. They push you into action. If they point toward owning your own business, be bold yet cautiously smart. And expect to experience business readiness symptoms, internal signals that may be painful.

Signs that you may be an entrepreneur

I remember when I first started experiencing business readiness symptoms. Although I was working a full-time job for a major corporation, I felt stuck. It wasn’t that going after promotions, horizontal job expansion and creative, corporate work wasn’t on my radar.

It was that I was ready to move on. I was ready to start my own business.

But, as may be the case with you, I needed to build a pipeline of cash flow before I launched my business full-time. So, for two years, I operated my publishing company as a side job. That’s when the business readiness symptoms got worse.

This is what I learned. Although they are no fun, these symptoms are a part of the growth process. Do any of these business readiness symptoms sound familiar?

• Sleeplessness or the inability to stay asleep for longer than one to three hours at a time
• Irritability
• Desire to explore and learn new things
• Rising courage
• Sharpness to your dreams, especially dreams that offer tips on actions that you should be taking now
• Hopefulness that, at times, feels nagging
• Focus on a hobby, creative pursuit or work that you abandoned years ago (in order to get a “stable” job that would pay the bills)
• Dissatisfaction with just going with the flow or sticking to routine

Welcome to the club! You just might be at the cusp of a business launch. It’s an exciting, nutty time. As invigorating as it may feel, don’t jump too soon.

In fact, one of the best ways to reduce business readiness symptoms is to conduct the right due diligence. Set yourself up for business success. Following are ways that you can easily do that.

Don’t just operate any business, operate a successful business

Identify expenses clearly. Create a line item budget. Include product or service development, employee or contractor payroll expenses, marketing costs and all other expenses in the budget. Stick to the budget. If you don’t stick to the budget, you’re wasting your time to create it.
Conduct market research. If you don’t have experience with market research, outsource this project to an experienced professional. Market research helps you to find out if other companies have the same patents that you want. Other data that market research reveals include how large your product’s demographic is, how saturated the market is and where your target audience is located.
Create an advisory team. These don’t have to be people with degrees. Your advisory team does need to have business experience and experience with products or services you’re launching. At the beginning, you may meet with your team bi-monthly. Bounce ideas off your team. Accept feedback without defending your ideas, as this could save you money over the short and long term.

More steps to reduce business readiness symptoms

Develop cash flows. Pre-orders, investors and seed money are ways to develop beginning cash flows. But, don’t stop here. Also develop two to three ways to keep cash flows operating. For example, you might schedule the launch of a new product every 8 to 14 months. You might expand your service areas each quarter or bi-annually. Definitely, establish bill pay cycles and have vendors and customers stick to payment due dates.
Get clear about how much time you have to devote to running your own business. You could easily work 50 or more hours a week and even six to seven days a week during the first few years that your business operates.
Design backups and alternative methods to handle snags and delays. For example, you can develop shipping alternatives and establish relationships with employment agencies should you need additional staff quickly.

Build a strong future for your business

Create a project plan and timeline for when you will complete business launch actions. Similar to a budget, stick to the business launch project plan. Items to build into the plan include getting federal, state and local licenses. You also need to complete any necessary registrations and set up a quarterly tax payment schedule. Open a business bank account. Get business cards, brochures and other marketing tools. Build a website and social media accounts. These are just a few items to add to your business launch project plan.
Build a measurable marketing plan. Familiarize yourself with marketing technology like Google and Adobe analytics and content marketing scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. Hashtag managers and email marketing tools like Constant Contact and MailChimp are other marketing tools to consider.
Learn about marketing strategies and tools via resources like HubSpot, Search Engine Land and Google Support. Keep learning. Take certifications and set up email alerts to keep up with search engine algorithm and ranking changes.

Take care of yourself to reduce business readiness symptoms

From a personal standpoint, get enough exercise. This means, getting outside in natural light. Eat a healthy diet. Don’t stress and get plenty of sleep (but not too much).
Accept that you may make mistakes along the way. Be patient with yourself. Seek support when you need it. Hire people who have the skillset that can move your business forward. Also, hire people with strong ethics and morals. It may sound simple, but this one can save you big.

Stay positive, even during periods when you may start to doubt yourself or feel afraid. If you’ve got a serious case of business readiness symptoms, you just may be ready to leap! Just do it smartly!

Posted in Starting a Business | Tagged | 1 Comment

The power of self-examination

By Diana Russell

“Excuse me, Ms. Your slip is showing.” Have you ever heard this, turned and looked at your dress hem and wondered why you didn’t see or feel that two inches of your slip were hanging down below your dress before someone else pointed it out to you? Or maybe you went three hours at work, sitting in boardroom meetings, without knowing that you had a coffee stain on your shirt.

Focus on what matters

It’s easy to miss what you would love to notice if you’re not in the habit of glancing in mirrors, checking out your appearance. However, appearance isn’t the only time when you could be making mistakes or slipping up and not knowing it. Journalists and bloggers should know this best.

As a journalist or blogger, you can scan an article you wrote two or more times, and still miss grammatical and spelling errors. Get in the habit of finding errors in order to improve your work, and errors might start jumping out at you. Point is, self-acceptance, not self-depreciation and judgment, is a key to a successful self-examination.

This means appreciating and caring for yourself. Forget comparing yourself to others. They aren’t you. Be sincere as you perform self-examination. Mencius put it this way, ” There is no greater delight than to be conscious of sincerity on self-examination.”

Self examination is never ending

As you perform self-examination, also be patient with yourself. After all, you’re on a journey, one that truly never ends.

Think of what Rainer Maria Rilke shares in Letters to  Young Poet, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.  Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.”

The power of self-examination could reveal new insights, giving you clues about the next steps you should take. It can also let you finally see how powerful, resilient, loving and bright you really are. This leads to self-confidence, the very thing you need to succeed in art and business.

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Volunteer Smart

By Rhonda Campbell
Volunteer smart to add positive strength to the neighborhood and community that you live in. By volunteering smart, you can also connect your business to the community. Do this and your business may become known as a socially responsible company.

Benefits of being a socially responsible company include:

  • Attracting skilled workers to fill open positions
  • Growing media relationships
  • Strong branding opportunities

Finding Volunteer Needs

Volunteers of America, United Way, Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers / Big Sisters are nationally known charities that you can volunteer with. Local chambers of commerce and city commissioner offices may list local charities. They may also publish upcoming volunteer events that you can participate in.

Neighbor to Nation, Charity Watch and Charity Navigator list more charities. A good thing about Charity Watch and Charity Navigator is that these organizations rank charities. Charity Navigator even list fake charities.

Similar to how you research a company before you start working for the firm or buying the company’s products, research charities that you’re thinking about volunteering with. Volunteer smart. After all, some charities only exist to make their founders rich.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Don’t take on too much, after you choose a charity to volunteer locally or to volunteer abroad with. Try to work with charities that have talented teams in place. This way, you can avoid being tempted to serve as administrative assistant, public relations manager, social media marketer and event organizer.

This single factor is what gets many people in trouble when it comes to volunteering. When you volunteer smart, you know that the work you’re doing matters. You know that the work you’re doing may have a powerful, positive impact on a person’s (or an entire family’s) life. You also steer clear of burdening yourself.

A good way to avoid taking on too much is to identify in advance how much time you’ll volunteer. For example, you may decide to volunteer an hour a week or an hour a month. You might also volunteer smart by volunteering with a team. Large corporations do this throughout the year. It keeps people from taking on too much and feeling burned out. Next, get ready for branding.

Branding Matters

Build volunteering into your brand. Send out a press release days prior to charity events that you’ll attend. Follow up with another press release after the event ends, spotlighting special ways that you connected with other event attendees. Empower press releases with event photos.

Add these press releases, pictures and thoughts about the event to your company’s social media pages. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or if you employ a team of contractors, freelancers or traditional employees.

Get the word out about the socially responsible work that you’re doing. Encourage your team members to give back. Track the results of your work. For example, as you continue to volunteer smart, you could ask charities that you volunteer with to send you a list of local, regional, national and international organizations that they donated funds to.

Top charities track how their funds are being used and the results of those efforts. If you work with charities that raise money for school book bags. Find out how many schools and students received book bags. Volunteer smart. Help to keep charities honest. Give back and be socially responsible.

Posted in Staying Motivated and Inspired | Tagged | 1 Comment

Personal Brand Increases Marketability

MEET The Image Connection Group:  The Image Connection Group ( is a personal  brand / professional brand firm. At the helm of the firm are three unstoppable innovators: LaShanda Millner-Murphy, Monique Stubbs-Hall and Melissa Jo Baker. Our desire is to define the new view of the professional. We help professionals make the connection between mindset, talent and image in order to increase marketability. Work that we do helps professionals get noticed. Clients served include State Farm, Hanes, Communities in Schools, Hilton and the Social Security Administration.

imageconnectiongroup signs

WMI:    What is personal brand?

ICG:       It’s what you are communicating to others through verbal, non-verbal and physical means.  It’s your live logo.

WMI:    When and why did you launch Image Connection Group?

ICG:        We launched ICG in January 2016 with our book Professionable: The Art of Being a Fashionable Professional.

WMI:    What was your initial vision for Image Connection Group?

ICG:        Our initial vision was to provide professionals with a unique concept: the ability to receive a combination of Personal Professional Development, Styling Solutions and Beauty/Grooming Answers all under one roof.

WMI:    Tell us about the services that you offer and who your services are geared toward.

ICG:       We offer a customizable one on one coaching package. It’s a package that allows clients to coach with each of us individually, ensuring that we access the areas in which clients need greater assistance. We then provide a la carte coaching in more intensive sessions to help refine our clients’ personal brand presentation.

Our target market includes entrepreneurs who are coming out of corporate environments, leaders who need to establish a style compatible with the type of business they are establishing. We also serve millennials who are entering the job market and need to brush up on their skills and image. Generation Xers who have been working in corporate for several years, people who realize that they need to pay more attention to their image and personal brand to stay competitive in the marketplace, are also members of our target audience.

The Beginnings of Image Connection Group

WMI:    How did you all meet?

ICG:       We met at a women’s networking luncheon in Charlotte, each of us having our own individual businesses.

imageconnectiongroup personal brand

WMI:    Share the talents, passions and experience that you each bring to Image Connection Group.

ICG:      LaShanda began her fashion career in 1984 as owner of a specialty boutique. She was a producer of fashion runways and a personal stylist for executives and First Ladies in North Carolina and Virginia. LaShanda has mastered skills that help her clients to be creative and have versatility in their professional wardrobes that result in a new “style image.” LaShanda has been sought out by women and men nationally through her personal brand as Fashion Image Coach and Clothier Designer, a creative who has styled celebrities, entertainers, sports figures, professional models, pageant queens, entrepreneurs and more. She thrives on the challenges of helping people discover their lifestyle and express their individuality through their outside appearances. She believes that it is one of our greatest powers in life and that everyone should seek to embrace it. Through years of experience engaging, inspiring and creating styles for clients, she knows that “every size, shape and skin tone has a clothing compliment.  When her clients add their personality to that, suddenly they express power and confidence they didn’t even know they had.”

After working for 32 years in Los Angeles as an executive and beauty industry leader for brands like Sephora and Urban Decay, Melissa moved to Charlotte for family. She knew that she wanted to use her beauty knowledge to serve women in a better way. She’s always had a passion for fashion and has been known to be the one on trend in her circles.  She brings her beauty and style expertise to the group from experience and intuition.

Monique has an extensive background in sales management in the cosmetic and hospitality industries, and is also an accomplished public speaker with over 30 years experience collectively working for Fortune 500 companies. Her years of experience in both cosmetic and hospitality sales and customer service affords her both the skill set and proven techniques for the success that she enjoys teaching and coaching to enrich individuals and business leaders who are struggling in these areas.

Helping Top Firms Strengthen Personal Brand

WMI:    You have worked with top companies like State Farm, Hilton, Hanes, eWomen Network and Communities in Schools. Please share three to four steps that Write Money Incorporated readers can take to introduce themselves to major firms and land desirable partnerships with those firms?

ICG:     Research the specific contact in the department that directly seeks out companies that offer your type of service or product. This will save you time.

  • Be professionally persistent. Have good follow up and don’t just take the “no” as the answer; attempt to find out why the answer is “no”. The “no” may be just not at this time and, if so, find out when would be an appropriate time to follow up.
  • Make every effort to have a face to face meeting with the decision maker. We have found that phone and email conversations do not always convey the true conviction of your service or product as well as a face to face interaction.


WMI:    Tell us about the inspiration behind the guidebook Professionable.

ICG:        We were clear that we wanted this to be a fun read.  Nothing overwhelming. Women have enough of that in life.  Our guidebook offers bite size nuggets that the reader could immediately understand and  implement.

image connection group personal brand event

WMI:    Why is a fashionable professionable mindset and appearance important?

ICG:       Mindset is important  to create a desired shift. If someone doesn’t believe that she has a need to improve her appearance, we won’t be able to move the needle in those areas.  It’s a moot point.

Appearance is important because it is a form of communication.  And it can get us the job, the raise, the client or the sale.  Or the complete opposite.

Marketing Success and Personal Brand Tips

WMI:    Social media networks, press releases, interviews, etc. provide a myriad of marketing opportunities. Share three to four marketing strategies/action steps that you take to gain exposure for Image Connection Group.

ICG:     Conducting Book Signing Events/Tours – These bring exposure to the material in the book and allow us to bring professionals together in smaller group settings  to give them tips that show the value and expertise in our respective areas. This also allows professionals to express the areas in which they feel they need additional coaching to improve their personal brand.

  1. Mini Work Shop Series – We have successfully held mini workshop series to cover specific areas that will enhance professionals’ marketability. After attending the workshops, clients realize why engaging with us is beneficial to their professional success.
  2. Social Media Campaigns – Social media campaigns, including Facebook ads, have definitely been beneficial in raising awareness of our brand and keeping the public informed about our upcoming events.
  3. Television Coverage –Wherever possible, we look for opportunities to gain media exposure. Media exposure helps to build credibility in the eyes of the public. Because television is visual and also because we discuss image and style, we have found television coverage to be very effective for our brand.


WMI:    To keep your business going, you have to generate cash inflow. Tell us about two to three effective cash inflow strategies that you’ve found effective.

ICG:       IPA-Income Producing Activities is one of the pillars to keep your eye on.  We keep book signings in our ‘pipeline’ as a core activity, large and small, at a variety of different places, to reach new people and create collaborations.  We also do workshops in Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina.

WMI:    What’s next for Monique, LaShanda, Melissa and Image Connection Group? Where do you see yourselves and Image Connection Group three to five years from now?

ICG:    We see ourselves as a national personal brand firm with trainers (or as we refer to them “Professionables”) that we have groomed to present our style of coaching one on one and in larger forums such as stage presence at women conferences and tradeshows.


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Marketing Project Planning Actions

Are you in charge of marketing where you work? Doesn’t matter if you work for someone else or if you’re a rocking solopreneur.

Don’t Believe the Marketing Hype

If a chunk of your job involves getting the word out about company products or services, you’ve probably seen marketing software or marketing agency ads that tell you how plentiful your online growth opportunities are. The ads are worded as if just because there are a lot of people online, you’ll nab lots of sales if you purchase their software or marketing services.

When I started my business, I fell for marketing promos like “Millions of people are on YouTube every day.” “Facebook has one billion users.” “More than 100 million people use Instagram.” I told myself that, with seven billion people on the planet, I could sell thousands of books.

More than 10 years later, and I’ve yet to find the magic wand that yields millions of sales just-like-that. Have you?

Marketing Takes Planning

Effective marketing calls for work, consistent work. It also requires the right marketing project planning actions. Marketing project planning stages should fit your organization, but may include:

Ask the right questions – Meet with product development teams to get answers to key questions. Find out why you’re developing a product or service. How much experience do you have in the area that you’re developing a new product or service in? Is the marketing curve for the product or service on the down swing? In other words, are you coming into the market at the optimum time?

Market research – You need to know how saturated your industry and market are. Ask an independently published novelist who published his first novel in 1995. Novels were easier to sell in the 1990s. Why? There weren’t as many self-published novels on the market as there are today. The book market is so saturated today that authors and publishers are giving books away.

More Project Planning That Yields More Sales

Value proposition – Write down your product or service’s value points. Examples of value points are convenience, safety, flexibility and reliability. If you enter a saturated market, go in with a well-defined marketing angle. Your product or service also better be completely different from similar products in the market on at least one point. Folks need to feel like, if they don’t buy your product or service, they’ll have to go without what they value. They need to feel as if they’ll lose if they don’t buy from you.

Market testing – Hold focus groups. Ask focus group members to use products or services you plan to market. Distribute score cards. Ask group members to use the score cards to indicate what they liked most and least about the products or services. Leave room for group members to offer suggestions and comments.

Start early – Marketing project planning starts before a product or service is developed. Going back to the novelist example, successful book authors and publishers start marketing new books at least six months before the books hit the market.

Are you in charge of marketing where you work? Doesn’t matter if you work for someone else or if you’re a rocking solopreneur.

More Marketing Planning Steps

Additional marketing project planning actions focus on the types of marketing tools that you’ll use. They also focus on timing and return-on-investment. We’ll cover these in the next article right here at Write Money Incorporated. Follow us or bookmark us to keep getting tips and advice on how you can get results when marketing your products and services.

Posted in Growing Business | Tagged | 1 Comment

Find top freelance clients

Rebecca Davis
More than 30 percent of American adults currently do work for freelance clients. A good number of these adults learn that freelancing, like traditional jobs, has challenges. Picking the right freelance clients is a leading challenge that independent workers often face.

Work with top freelance clients

The sooner professionals get real about the challenges, the more they can reap ongoing freelancing benefits. For example, working with top freelance clients could be a way to set your own work hours, establish the location that you want to complete projects from and have the flexibility to change your pay rates and overall income. Working with freelance clients can also offer you opportunities to strengthen your entrepreneurial muscles and start building your own business.

Basic elements to look for in freelance clients include the clients’ credibility. In addition to conducting an online search on potential freelance clients, ask clients for referrals or references similar to how a traditional employer seeks references on people they are thinking about hiring. Unscrupulous people can easily create websites that mirror official company web pages and deceptively try to convince you that they started or work for a credible organization.

Be smart (not desperate) when sourcing for and accepting freelance clients.

Get paid by top freelance clients on time

This means that you perform your due diligence and make sure that freelance clients pay on time. Research the market to see what other freelancers earn by the hour or assignment. Align your rates similarly. Value yourself and your abilities, so you’re not underpaid.

Asking for constant edits is one way that freelance clients could try to push out the date that they pay you. For this reason, limit the number of edits that you will do per assignment without asking freelance clients to pay you more money.

Flexibility goes both ways

You’re not the only one who needs to be flexible for a freelancing gig to be rewarding. Freelance clients who you work with should also be open to your ideas and recommendations. Good freelance clients genuinely care about you.

For example, if you tell freelance clients that you are taking off during a holiday, your birthday or to vacation, good clients will generally work around your schedule. They won’t demand that you work on vacation or only take time off when they want you to.

An integral part of the team

The best freelance clients will make you feel like you’re an integral part of their team. Because you’re a freelancer, they won’t treat you like you’re an employee. You generally won’t receive paid benefits like company paid vacation and retirement benefits. However, good freelance clients will make you feel like you are a key part of their success.

They will complement your good works and express their appreciation for your projects that you work on for them. In fact, some freelance clients express more appreciation for work you do for them than traditional employers do.

Won’t keep you a secret

Add the right freelance clients to your roster and the numbers of organizational leaders who learn of you and your skills may expand. Good freelance clients aren’t afraid to let others know about you. In fact, they’re happy to share your contact information with other entrepreneurs they know who are looking for contractors to fill one-time or ongoing project needs.

You could also add the organizational names of good freelance clients that you work with to your online and print portfolios. Your portfolio is one of the resources that potential clients will look at before they decide to contract with you for work.

Posted in Employment and Finding Jobs | Tagged | 1 Comment