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How to get press coverage for your small business - with Jenna Farmer, The Bloglancer
Episode 1068th April 2022 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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Jenna Farmer, the Bloglancer, helps small businesses get visible through amazing blog content and getting featured in the media.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

This week on the podcast we are talking about 2 things: blogging and how to get your products featured in the media.

My guest, Jenna Farmer, the Bloglancer,  helps small businesses get visible through amazing blog content and getting featured in the media.

Jenna shares why writing a blog is important for your business, and some suggestions of topics you can write about when you have a product based business. Jenna then shares lots of practical tips of ways you can get featured in the media, from how to contact journalists, to what to put in your press release, to things to avoid doing which would be an automatic no for a journalist!

Jenna shares a vast amount of information, and this is a must listen episode for anyone looking to get more coverage and visibility for their products and business. 

As always, I would love for you to listen in and let me know what you think.

Listen in to hear Jenna share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:39)
  • Why you should be writing blogs (02:02)
  • How often you should be writing blogs (03:32)
  • Ideas of topics to write about if you have a product based business (06:07)
  • Why you may want to be featured in the press (12:24)
  • How to look for press opportunities(14:50)
  • How to approach a journalist (19:51)
  • What to put in a press release (23:28)
  • How to make your response stand out to a journalist (29:23)
  • Things not to do (31:43)
  • How to prepare for a call with a journalist if you are nervous (36:38)
  • Her number one piece of advice to get visibility  (43:36)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

The Bloglancer - Jenna’s website

Jenna’s Instagram

Jenna’s Twitter

Jenna’s Podcast: The Bloglancer

Keysearch

Google Ads

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ResponseSource

Food4Media

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Transcripts

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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, today on the podcast.

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I'm talking to Jenna Farmer.

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Jenna helps small businesses, get visible through amazing blog content

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and getting featured in the media.

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So we talked about two topics today, which are, as you might've guessed

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blogging so how to produce good blog content for your products business.

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I know that when I was selling products, um, I really struggled with what to

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talk about other than my products.

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And if you're in a similar boat, I think you've going to find this really useful.

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Jenna has some excellent suggestions of the kind of things that you

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can talk about on your blog to keep your audience engaged.

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And we also cover things like how often you need to be blogging,

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which, um, might be good news for you because less than you might think.

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Um, and then we also spoke about how to get your business featured

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in the media and Jenna had lots of practical tips and advice here, even

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if you're someone who's a bit shy.

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I mean, I know that I'm a bit daunted actually, by the thought of getting

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featured in the press somewhere, it just seems like quite a big deal

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and even pitching seems quite scary.

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Um, and I think that the conversation with Jenna will really help you with that.

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So all that said, I now would love to introduce you to Jenna, and I really

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hope you enjoyed this conversation.

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So Jenna, thank you so much for being.

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No problem.

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Thanks for having me

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Oh you're welcome.

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So can we start with you, please give an introduction to yourself, your

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business and what it is that you do?

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Yep.

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So I'm Jenna, um, I'm a journalist and a blogger.

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And as part of that, I offer services, uh, to small businesses who need

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help with their blog content, um, or also need help getting in the media,

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reaching out to journalists being seen in magazines, newspapers and blogs.

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Amazing.

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Thank you.

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So if it's okay with you, I'm going to take each topic separately.

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So let's talk a little bit about blogs first.

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Let's start off with the real basic question, Jenna, which is

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why, why should we be thinking about producing blog content?

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Well, I think I talk about sort of two separate things like blogging

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and getting seen in the media.

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But for me, I think they've really closely related.

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So a lot of people, when they think about starting a blog, just thinking, you know,

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I'll just put some content on there.

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I'll write about what I want to write about, but actually blogs

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help in lots of different ways.

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So firstly, it's about obviously getting seen on Google.

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So yeah.

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If you're writing blog content that is popular with Google,

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that's going to obviously bring more visitors to your site.

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And then in that blog content, you've obviously got the chance to promote

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whatever product you're selling.

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Uh, but also within that, uh, Google really likes sites that are updated

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and provide new and consistent.

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constant continuity in that information.

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So having a blog that's regularly updated is a really great way to

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show Google that you are not just sort of create the site and left it.

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Um, so it really helps with things like the algorithm of Google ranking,

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um, and getting seen on Google, which again is really beneficial, but it also

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helps answers your audience's questions.

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So, you know, if somebody comes to you and they're not sure about your

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product or your service or whatever, and you've got a really in-depth blog

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post that explains it, um, it actually saves you a lot of time because you've

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probably got, you know, audiences asking you questions every day.

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Um, I know I have, and being able to direct them into a blog post, um,

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Not only means that they are on your site, so they might have a little look

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around, but it's also gonna save you repeating the same things over and over.

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Yeah, that's really helpful.

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So just picking up on one of the things you said about for google,

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about keeping your site updated, is there like an optimum number of blog

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posts you should be publishing or, you know, should you be published should

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you be updating your site every month?

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I know there's probably not a black and white answer, but just curious.

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I think, yeah, there isn't a black and white answer and obviously that

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algorithm is always changing and we don't know the exact specifics of it,

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but what I would say is like consistency.

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Um, so Google also definitely values posts that are quite long.

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It's sort of really useful.

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So I personally think if.

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It's better to almost have like one post a month that's perhaps like a

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thousand words and full of value than perhaps like a 200 word post, which

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is just pointless because it's not going to be long enough to do anything.

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So I think as long as you set yourself, you know, consistency, I mean, ideally

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I would say at least once a month, but you know, once a week is personally what

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I would aim for, but anywhere between those two parameters, as long as you're

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consistent, but as long as it's worthwhile content as well, there's no point just

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putting stuff up for the sake of it.

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Um, I see a lot of businesses do that.

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Okay.

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I'll just put something up, but, um, there's no point in doing it

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if it's not going to be valuable.

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So wherever you can find that line of what you can commit to

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and commit to it, I would say.

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Thank you.

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And it sounds like a good blog post has two purposes.

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And so it's providing useful information and it's also

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going to help your SEO as well.

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Yes, definitely.

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And if you think, you know, I'll give you an example at the moment, like if

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you've got a product based business, so I've got a subscription box that

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I, um, help with PR and that blog content, um, obviously, you know,

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they're hoping to get found on Google.

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Phrases like subscription box.

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But then what I did in their case was I wrote a blog post all

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about corporate gifting and, you know, corporate gifting options.

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And that managed to rank on Google.

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So that's something that they wouldn't have ranked for before,

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because it's not really their whole business, if that makes sense.

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But it's from that blog post that ranked on Google and they

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were able to get sales from it.

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There's only so many search combinations or ways that you're going to be vying

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for that front page place, so it really opens up, you know, the amount

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of places that people can find you.

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Thank you.

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And let's talk a little bit about content as well, if that's

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okay, because this podcast is obviously for product businesses.

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I run my own products business for years, and I I'll be honest blog content was

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something I really struggled with because it's, I think it's, um, I think I fell

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into the trap of either just doing posts about my content about, about my products.

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And I think there was, you know, a certain amount of value that, so for example, one

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of my product was the bamboo swaddles.

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And I did lots of posts about, you know, the best way, seven ways to use

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them or wherever, you know, seven ways you can use them or things like that.

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Or I would post content that I thought would be relevant to my audience,

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but in hindsight probably had nothing to do with my products and probably

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wasn't also helping, you know, my, my search rankings and that kind of thing.

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Um, I think it can be really tricky for products, businesses

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to know what to talk about.

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So have you got any advice here, please?

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Yeah.

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I mean, what I personally would advise.

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There's a tool called Key Search, although there are other ones

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out there, but basically you need sort of a keyword planning tool.

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Um, you can also, if you use Google ads, there's also like Google ad

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words, which is sort of similar.

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And really, I would just spend half an hour just having to research,

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you know, researching, um, keywords or phrases around, uh, Topics.

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So going back to the example I gave you about the subscription box, um,

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you know, if I think of, uh, types of subscription boxes, that's probably going

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to be too competitive because there's lots of people writing about that.

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So then it might give me more suggestions.

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So some of them might not be relevant, but it might give me some suggestions,

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like subscription boxes for your staff and clients, for example, a subscription

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boxes for healthy eating, for example.

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So.

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Well, yeah, what I would say is using those sorts of keyword tools, um,

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can be really helpful because it can give you some suggestions and it's

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all about, I find in that topic, that's obviously relevant to you.

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Is it too popular?

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That means you're not going to get anywhere, but isn't too tiny.

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That means you're not you, you could not going to get any traffic.

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So definitely doing some research using those research tools or just

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if you know, any competitors having a read of their blogs, seeing the

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sort of content they're putting out.

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But yeah, trying to as another good tip, as well as like awareness days or

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awareness month, say for example, um, We've got international women's day today.

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So that is that today, I think.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So if there's content around that or awareness weeks awareness

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months, sometimes there's like staff, mental health days.

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You, if you've got staff offerings, so finding those awareness

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days can be really useful.

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Yeah, I guess it's finding just about finding different angles, isn't it?

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And that's something that you sort of do get what I would say as well is that

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once you're, um, when she brought a few posts, you can then start to have a look

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at your analytics a little bit and say, okay, if one post is doing really well

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at tells me that my audience want more of this content, and that's what I always do.

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Sometimes it's worth, you know, just putting that content out

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there and seeing what sticks what's popular, what gets a bit of traffic.

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And as soon as it gets a bit of traffic, Can you replicate that and do it again in

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a different way to, to get more traffic.

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Does that make sense?

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That does.

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Thank you.

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And what about, um, sort of the strategy?

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I say strategy.

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It wasn't a strategy I was doing.

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I didn't really know what I was saying.

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If I'm honest, Jenna of sharing content, you know, writing content

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that might be of use to your audience.

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I mean, when I'm probably answering my own question here, but when I think

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about it, I suppose I'm thinking that if it's useful, then and relevant.

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There may be, but if it's too much of a tangent, um, maybe, so for

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example, we were just talking about Meera, who was on podcast recently.

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Um, and I know that she talks a lot about menopause given that products

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that she creates are aimed at helping women eat well in the menopause.

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I suppose if she was to blog on the subject of menopause, that

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wouldn't be too much of a jump and would still be relevant.

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Yeah.

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And I think sometimes as well, different blogs have different purpose.

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So, you know, sometimes these, okay.

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And I do this all the time to be like, right, this isn't going to do

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well on Google, you know, say Meeria for example, I'm going to write

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about my experience of going to the doctor and not getting anywhere with

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menopause and that's not going to be that people are going to necessarily

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Google, but it's a personal story.

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So she might share it on her Instagram and people might click through that way

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or she might share it in a newsletter.

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So it's okay for different blogs to have different purposes.

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You know, sometimes I'll write things, just, you know, I've got

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Crohn's disease, for example.

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So sometimes I'll blog about my experiences with that.

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People might not be Googling that, but that's got a different purpose.

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So it's okay for different blogs that have different purposes, but if say Meera's,

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um, did she talk to the podcast in she about the new box that she's launching?

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Yeah.

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So let's use that as an example, you know, Meera is launching this

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box box for kids that she needs, perhaps get specific and think, okay.

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Are there any articles that are talking about.

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You know, healthy food boxes for kids, or are there any articles

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that are talking about, you know, subscription box for kids or tips

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for eating healthier with your kids?

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So that's going to have a whole different purpose.

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So I think it's absolutely fine to have a mix, um, of different blog topics.

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But when you are writing it you should be sort of thinking, okay, how am I,

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how can people, and how are people going to find me from this blog post?

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Yeah, I guess it sounds like whatever you write about it needs to have a

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purpose, whether that's getting found by search engines or helping people to

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learn about your products or in the case you were giving about perhaps Meera, we

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keep coming back to Meera, we'll have to link to this episode in the show notes.

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People haven't heard about it.

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I suppose, if she were to do a blog post about her experience, going to the

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doctors, I guess the benefit of that would be to help people who came onto our site,

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learn a bit more about her connect to her.

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I mean, people buy from people as well.

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Don't they.

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I'm sure that you'll know.

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You know, like sometimes you might write about something that's not necessarily

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got links to your products in, but they might follow you on Instagram.

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They might sign up for your newsletter and then in a month's

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time they might buy from you.

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So it's just about knowing how, what you're blogging for when

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you're blogging a thing, rather than just putting content out there.

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Yeah, thank you.

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So it sounds like as long as you've got a purpose and you know why

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you're producing a piece of content, um, that sounds like the key, the

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key takeaway was that be fair?

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Okay, thank you.

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So let's, um, switch over if that's okay.

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And talk a bit about getting featured in the press.

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Um, so I'm going to ask the same question as I did for blogs, which is why, why

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would you want to be in the press?

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Um, no, let's say you're very shy and you know, you don't exactly

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like putting yourself out there, but let's um, what, why should.

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Yeah, well, so similar reasons again, for the, for the blog content.

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So obviously, you know, the main one that people always talk about is that

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if, if there might make me sales, it's going to make me more money.

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If my project gets featured in The Independent or something, that's

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going to translate into sales.

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So obviously that's the main one and yeah, of course that is going to happen.

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Uh, but it all comes back to, again, you know, visibility being shown

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out there, you know, people learn in your journey and people might follow

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you that way when you're featured in the media as well, often, uh, they

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might link back to your website.

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And that really helps with what we talked about before with Google, because we

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know that when you search something, you know, for example, if I'm searching,

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like, you know, a Chinese takeaway for this evening, the ranking that's going

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to be at the top, it's most likely that site that's been around for a while and

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people have recommended and talked about.

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So when you're getting those links and those mentions from magazines and

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newspapers, That really helps as well because its sort of showing Google

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look, you know, we think the sites amazing people are linking to it.

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So, um, even if you don't necessarily have a big jump in sales, uh, you might

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be surprised at how that affects, you know, other areas of your business.

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Perhaps more people might read your blog as well.

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And that's obviously gonna translate into sales.

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Um, and yeah, and finally, it's just, it's just a really great way.

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To get visibility, obviously to advertise in a magazine or a newspaper can cost

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thousands and thousands of pains.

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If you can find a story or an angle that gets you featured naturally without

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paying, and then the benefits can be huge.

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Yeah, that makes sense.

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Thank you.

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So I guess it is a lot about discussing more people to see

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what you're doing, what you sell.

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Yeah.

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That makes sense.

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Um, yeah, I can definitely, I can definitely see, see the benefits.

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I'll be honest thought Jenna it feels like really hard work.

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Um, have you got any advice about sort of how to go about better media

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coverage, so where you should be looking?

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Um, let's, let's start there actually.

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So where would you find opportunities or do you create your own opportunities?

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How that's that work?

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Hi, this is divided into two.

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So first of all, you can definitely create your own opportunities.

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So.

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I always advise people just to start reading like your dream publication and

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just start to figure out, okay, this is the kind of stories they cover, or this

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person covers a lot of these topics.

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So, you know, try and figure out where you fit within those publications.

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Because a lot of the time people are like, you know, I want to be featured

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in Grazia, we'd all like to be faetured in Grazia, but does that actually fit

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with your product or your service?

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So definitely just spend a bit of time figuring out where your ideal audience

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is, and then, you know, just rocking that introductory email and just say, you

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know, I see that you've covered a lot of this, or I see that your focusing on this.

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What I do fits really well with that.

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And, you know, here's some examples, or especially if you've got a product

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based business, you know, you could target that journalist going to

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send you a copy, or can I send you a box or whatever you saw, um, and

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just make that initial introduction.

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Or if that even seems too scary, you can go onto Twitter and find them on Twitter.

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Uh, journalists are on Twitter and just follow them and see the kind

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of things that they're posting and sharing and engaging with them.

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Um, so that's the first way just sort of making those connections yourself.

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The second way is a lot easier and it's probably better if, you know, you don't

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have loads of confidence and that is, you know, finding those opportunities.

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So there's.

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Facebook groups and there's paid subscriptions and there's

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free subscriptions that send you opportunities where a journalist is

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like, hi, I write for this place.

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I'm looking for people with X, Y, and Z.

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Can you help?

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So that's much better cause obviously you're sort of eliminating the

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guesswork and you know exactly what the journalist is looking for.

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So there's a Facebook group called Lightbulb or the Entrepreneurs Hangout.

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Um, and that's five pound a month.

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There's lots of journalists in there doing exactly what I talked about.

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There's another newsletter, which is a similar amount a month I think it's about

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five pounds and that's called editor.

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I might have pronounced that wrong I'll text.

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I'll tell you, it's funny.

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And that's a daily newsletter that sends you like updates.

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We're about 50 journalists.

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We're looking at this, this and this.

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Um, and then there are like paid for, um, services that cost a bit more

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money back, like called Responsesource.

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Or so if you've got a food brand, the Food For Media, And they do cost a

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lot of money, but obviously again, um, you're finding those opportunities.

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And then the final way is to sort of outsource that.

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So obviously you can work with a lot of PR agency I offer

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different one-to-one services.

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Um, so it just really depends on how much time you've got, um, and how much money

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you have, it's definitely time consuming.

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Um, but obviously the benefits, you know, Business changing.

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So it's just about figuring out how much time you've got, how

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much money you've got and finding the solution that works for you.

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Yeah.

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Thank you.

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And is Journo Request still a thing, Jenna.

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I remember I used to hear people talking about that.

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Um, never tried, but

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yeah.

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So just go back to Twitter.

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Yeah.

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If you're following those, you know, if you're following those

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journalists, um, you can also search the hashtag journo request on Twitter.

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Again, you know, you do have to filter through a lot of stuff that isn't relevant

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to you, but I do it once or twice a day, you know, the morning about half nine.

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So those early requests come in then, you know, late afternoon, I

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just scroll through that hashtag.

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And that can be a good way again, to find journalists to follow and just

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sort of see the sort of stories that are being put out there, but don't be

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afraid, you know, you might see something and think, okay, that's me, but it's

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got nothing to do with my business.

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But if you're willing to talk about it, still put yourself out there.

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Cause you don't know what you know, where that's going to take you in the future and

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the relationships that you going to build.

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So try not to just not to be, I want my product to be featured with a review and

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for me to make money from the sales, try and be a bit more open-minded if you can.

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Yeah.

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That makes sense.

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Because presumably if a story was about you personally, and it was something you

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were happy to talk about, there's a chance that your business could be mentioned in

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the story anyway, or that people might just look you up and see what you do.

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So I guess it's okay.

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If it fits and you're happy to talk about the subject, is it just a case

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of just going and giving it a go,

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yeah and you're going to get that link, hopefully that I talked about it's going

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to help with your blog content and your Google traffic, you to, you're going to

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get that relationship with the journalist, you know, if you really helpful to them

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and you mentioned, oh, by the way, I do this then the next time they working on

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that, I know, I do that all the time, I think, oh, I'll just go back to that

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person because I already know them.

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I already know they're really helpful.

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I know their email address, so yeah, it really helps build relationships.

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And like you say, you don't know where people are going to, going to find you.

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So if you can't be open-minded and it's not going to take a huge amount

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of time then yeah, definitely.

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Oh, amazing.

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Thank you.

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And what about when you start contacts?

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Sorry I've got so many questions, Jenna, what about when you start

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contacting journalists is it like, is that wherever you're sort of,

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I don't want to say cold calling.

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That's probably not the right way of saying it, but

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wherever you're approaching.

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Sort of perhaps proactively because you're looking to get a story out there or

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wherever you're responding to a request.

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Is there any best practice for, for how to, you know, has a contact them

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and do press releases still exists?

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That was my other question.

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Do people do press releases still?

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Do they still, they still a thing.

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Press releases can definitely be part of that.

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So, yeah, I definitely recommend, I always just recommend you have one press release.

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So, you know, a lot of businesses want to update it every time, you

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know, they win an award or they have a new item, but you don't necessarily

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need to update it every time.

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Chances are a lot of press releases, you know, are going to get deleted or not

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read, but it is a useful sort of crib sheet that you can just scan through.

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The journalist is the feel of the business.

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So what I suggest doing is having a press release written, um, and in that

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introductory email, um, first of all, just sort of explain, you know, who

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you are and why it's relevant to that publication or what they're working on or

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their audience just in a paragraph or so.

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Then you might say, you know, the full press release is below.

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If you want to take a look and I always recommend that you copy and paste that.

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Cause a lot of the times, if you add an attachment, they just don't get

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opened or they clog up the inbox size.

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If you just copy and paste your press releases and attachment.

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Yes.

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So you're going to, yes, you've got your introduction.

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You've got your copy and paste of the press release in the body of the email.

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And then I would always say finish the email by just being super helpful.

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So include links of like, you know, where it is stocked because a lot

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of people don't do that and you've got to then Google, if it stops in

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multiple places, you know, it might just link to a few or mention a few.

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If it's like a new product, always make it clear, like when it's being released.

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Because again, that's something that I often go back and forth on.

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If you've got a link to like a Dropbox or a, we transfer of images, link

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that there again, that saving time.

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And if you've got, especially if you've got a low cost item, um, and you

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have got a sample of it and you feel like, you know, it's something that,

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you know, is better to be tried like chocolate, for example, then you offer

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that you offer that sample as well.

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So I'm always just finished by being really helpful.

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Well, here's what I've got here's where you can find it.

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Here's how I can help you.

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Um, and you sort of end the email there.

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Um, and my last tip in relation to being helpful is if you're going to send that

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email that makes sure you then check your emails later that day or tomorrow,

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you know, don't sort of sending that email and then go on holiday for a

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week because you might miss that reply.

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And a lot of the time journalists are on deadlines.

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Perfect.

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Thank you.

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And what about the actual press release?

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What should go into that?

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Cause you mentioned having one press release.

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Cause I, I mean, I, when I think of press releases years and years ago, I

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used to work in PR and you'd sort of be churning these are all the time and

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there'd always be a new press release about a new service or whatever it was.

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Um, so what was your sort of ones?

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I mean, I'm assuming that if something big happened in your

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business, maybe, you'd write a press release you know, just about that.

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If there was something where the have a standalone story but this

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standard press release, that you would, you know, um, sort of use

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on repeat, what would be in that?

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Yeah.

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And I mean, it's worth saying, obviously you can keep updating your press releases.

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I mean, that's what PR agencies would do, but my advice would be, you

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know, if you're limited in your time or your budget, so perhaps you're

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paying someone to write your press releases or you do them yourself.

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It's probably not the best use of your time to keep updating it.

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You could just send a new picture.

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You could just tweak that press release slightly, but yeah, in the press release

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itself, I always advise, you know, trying to keep it onto one page, if you can, and

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sort of a bit similar to the email really so succinctly summarize your offering.

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So in the opening paragraphs, you might, you know, the key information,

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if it's a new product launch or the sort of thing that you're offering,

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um, if it's a product based business or then try and have, you know, images

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and a few bullet points, if you've got a product range, you know, like Meera's

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for example, you know, here's our key hero products or three products that

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are perfect for this time of the year.

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Um, you know, those bullet points are going to tell me the price,

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the stockists, and what they are.

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Um, and then towards the bottom of the press release, I always have, um,

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just a summary again, of been helpful.

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So here's where you can find the images.

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This is the date they go on sale.

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Here's the list of the stockists.

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Um, If you want images, or if you want more images, if you want a product

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samples or so and so email this address.

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Um, so just keep it as helpful as possible.

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And in that introductory paragraph or throughout, just trying to think about

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what are the unique selling points to you.

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So whether it's got an accreditation, if it's vegan, if it's won an award,

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if it's plastic free, anything, that's going to be sort of creating that

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story that you've fairly detailed at the journalist needs to know.

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Perfect.

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Thank you.

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I was just about to ask about that actually, cause it sounds

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like a lot of what you need to include is really factual.

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So I was going to ask about, um, wherever you need to include a spin or a USP

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or some sort of back story to capture journalist's attention, or is that

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more what you would do in the email?

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So in the email itself, you can definitely personalize that email.

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So, you know, for example, if I've got products that are vegan and I'm

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writing to a vegan magazine, I'm going to really sell about that, talk about

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it's approved by the society and so on.

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Well, if it's just a general food magazine, I might

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mention it just in passing.

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Um, if that makes sense, um, in the press release, itself um, you can tweak it

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every time, but I think really it's okay.

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If the press release doesn't perfectly match that email pitch because you're

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going to be sending, you're going to be tweaking that email pitch anyway, but

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anything that makes it different and unique, I would definitely put in the

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press release anything that stands out.

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Um, and if your business has the backstory, that's interesting.

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You could mention just a few sentences on that.

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You know, perhaps it started you in lock down or perhaps you've

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got twins and you're juggling, you're juggling your business.

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You can include a little bit of that as well, but we're just about getting the

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balance between the useful information, but just keeping it succinct and simple.

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That makes sense.

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Thank you.

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Cause I guess this isn't something, as you say, most of us wait and have the

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time to be updating this constantly.

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So I guess if it's something that's fairly standard, then if you're emailing

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journalists, for example, then that would be the place where you could kind of.

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give the angle to match whatever they're looking for.

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Yeah.

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That makes sense.

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Thank you.

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Um, that's what I was getting a bit a bit confused about.

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So it's not like in all sorts in the old days, but it's not like

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I'm thinking it was years ago now when I worked years and years ago.

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So it's not like when, you know, you're constantly writing a press

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release saying we have a new product, we did this, we won this award.

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So it's not that it's about having something standard that

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contains all the key information.

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So I guess if you had a new product, you maybe add a new

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bullet point in, for example.

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Yes.

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I mean, that's what I would advise, but the reason I advise that is because

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I just mainly work with, you know, small businesses who don't have, much

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budget, or perhaps time, hire me just for one day or that sort of thing.

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So.

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If you've got a limited budget and time, of course you can keep it down

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in your press releases, but I've just seen, it'd be better spent having

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a one size fits all, press release and tailoring that initial pitch

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because it's in that initial email, that first paragraph, the journalist

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is going to more likely to decide.

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If it's for them.

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And if to read on anyway and their press release, is it

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going to be towards the bottom?

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So chances are, when I read an email, I'll only scan to the press release if it's

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worth considering if it fits with what I'm doing and really I'm just scanning that

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press release for just like key points that I can take and use use in my article.

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So I wouldn't overthink that press release to.

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Yeah, that's really good advice.

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Thank you.

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Cause yeah, I mean the podcast is this podcast is for small businesses.

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who, you know, I assume most of the time are going to be doing

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their own PR and aren't going to have a lot of time or money for it.

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So that's so helpful.

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Thank you.

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And it sounds like the key takeaway is that the first couple of lines

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of the email needs to be the thing that get the journalists attention.

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Cause I assume if you don't grab them straight away then chances

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are, they're not ever going to read down to your press release.

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Yeah, exactly.

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And there, I mean, yeah, it's not being rude necessarily.

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It's just that a lot of journalists get, you know, hundreds and

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hundreds of emails a day.

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So it just has to fit with what they're doing or they just don't

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have time to carry on reading.

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Yeah.

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I was just about to ask you about that as a journalist.

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So if you put out a pitch, do you tend to just get hundreds of responses?

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So I just, yeah, such as just scroll through and you can sort of, I'm quite

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quick at reading, but you can sort of get a sense of which one fits and

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if it doesn't then usually I just delete, I will say sometimes I think.

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You know, you can't do it for everyone, but, um, if it's like the perfect

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publication or, you know, it's a journal issue followed for a while.

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Um, I do think trying to mention that and have a relationship just help a lot.

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So, you know, for example, I've got a two year old Jude and I write about parenting

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and, um, I've got my Instagram and if someone emails me and say like, oh, I

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love, you know, this blog your wrote, or I love watching you and Jude, even if

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it doesn't fit, I'll send a reply back.

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Cause I think that was.

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You know, that they took the time to understand a bit more about the work that

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I'm doing, or even if it was like, you know, I really, I thought this article

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that you wrote here was brilliant.

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I shared it to my friends or so on.

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You can't do that with every time and it's got to be genuine, but when

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people do do that, um, I definitely do reply and keep them in mind.

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So that could be another thing worth thinking about.

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Oh, that's really useful.

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Thank you.

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And I can, I can definitely see what you're saying there, because I find

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that I get quite a lot of pitches, um, for people's I have a blog as we spoken

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about, but I, and I get pitches of people who want to write guest articles.

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Um, and a lot of the time they don't even sort of write my name.

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They'll just write hi, and then give this pitch.

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And often it doesn't even fit.

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And I just think if you can't even be bothered to find out

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what my name is before you email.

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Then yeah, I'm not.

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Yeah.

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I usually reply to everything but those sort of emails I have to started

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deleting because I just think if you can't, you know, take the time to

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find out who I am and what I write about and, and things like that,

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then it's just, and the same with the podcast actually as well I think that.

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Because I also saw, I pitched myself as a guest for other people's podcasts.

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I do think you have to at least listen to some episodes and find out

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a bit about the person and, you know,

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read the magazine.

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Um, which should be any, you know, you should be anyway.

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And just, if they've never, ever covered your topic, that's probably because

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it's not right for their audience.

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So don't waste your time as well by sending them an email sort of.

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Thank you.

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And is there anything else that you would say, like to people's be wary of, or also,

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definitely not do because obviously you're in a unique position as a journalist.

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Is there anything else other than the spammy sort of emails, if what you've

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been sent to hundreds of people, is there anything else that, um, for

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you would make it an automatic no?

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Well, I think first of all, nothing is guaranteed unless you are paying for it.

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So I don't mean paid me, but you know, unless you're paying for

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it nothing, you know, guaranteed.

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So at the same time, you know, if you've got a personal story that you're sharing

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as part of a case study, that absolutely you can ask for a read back, which means,

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you know, I just want to check out, you know, I'm being representative properly

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or, you know, That my story's being told properly before you hit publish.

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But if you know, you're sending me some chocolate and I'm writing about the

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best vegan chocolate, then you don't have the sort of rights or to ask for

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that, read back because you have to accept the journalists sort of word.

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So I think that's worth making that distinction, um, in terms of.

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Don't realize that, you know, unless you're paying for something you

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can't necessarily control, what's being written, you can't control the

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amount of coverage you can't control.

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What image the journalists use necessarily the, the difference being the exception

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being, if it's something that's really personal that you're sharing.

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Story that you should make sure that you're getting written fairly, but

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otherwise you have to accept that.

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Similarly things like, um, things change all the time.

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So perhaps, you know, you sent over 500 words, but 10 words have been used.

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Perhaps it's not featured in this newspaper.

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It's going to be featured in another one.

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Um, that article might take a new direction.

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You might spend hours and hours and it just gets cut.

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And all of that, you've just sort of got to accept.

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And it happens a lot, uh, to all of my clients.

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To me personally, when I've written something and you have to expect again, if

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you're not paying for something it's not guaranteed until you see that coverage,

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so don't get your hopes up too much.

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Um, until actually goes live.

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So that would be my, um, my, my last tip, just to be as helpful as possible.

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So, you know, I've had people email before.

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And I'm not okay, but when is the product actually going to go live?

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But I'm not sure.

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Well, okay.

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Well, my deadline's next week.

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So is it going to go live now?

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Of course, I know that loads of those things out of your control,

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there might be website problems.

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It might be supply problems.

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So don't send that email until everything's lined up in place because

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otherwise I've had people message me around before it's not ready

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yet, or the images aren't ready yet.

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I know it can be tempting to email as soon as you can, but you just might annoy that

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journalist if everything's not in place.

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Yeah, that makes sense thank you.

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And given how much you've said, it's about relationships that

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obviously isn't the, I don't want to get off on that, foot really?

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Yeah, exactly.

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Come on.

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Sorry.

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I was just gonna say, yeah.

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And just be aware, although that you might think there's a lot of

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time, a lot of, especially online, they might need to publish it today.

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They might need to publish tomorrow.

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So the turn around time, um, it's definitely to be aware of it in

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general, you know, print publication.

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Did I like magazines are about three or four months ahead.

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So, you know, in July or August, they're going to be ready for Christmas.

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So I always say to people, you know, if you wait until October till

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you've got your Christmas pictures, then it's too late because you

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missing out on all of that stuff.

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Uh, but while online it's sort of the opposite, they might need it to today.

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They might need it within the hour.

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So as you sort of pitched to more journalists, you sort of learn more about

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that, but really being accommodating to times and trying to turn around

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things quickly can be really helpful.

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That's really good . Thank you for that really helps set expectations.

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So I guess if you're pitching for an online publication, for example, but

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you know, your back to back in meetings the next two days, perhaps don't or

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be prepared to shuffle things around.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I mean, a lot of the time you might get that's another one, I mean,

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you might not receive replies.

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You might feel like you're hitting against a brick wall, but just one

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reply, you know, that's perfect.

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Could, you know, massively change your business, the journalist they're expected

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to respond 24 7, but perhaps if they email and say, well, can I ring you tomorrow?

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I'd make time for that call.

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There's no point saying I can't do it till next week.

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Well, they'll just find somebody else.

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So, um, if you can be accommodating, um, that would definitely.

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Yeah, I've had very limited experience with this, but I had one sort of

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journalist interview and it was a case of, you know, she sort of emailed

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and said, can we speak tomorrow?

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You know, when this two hour window, um, get, which I wasn't quite

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prepared for because I was, yeah.

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But, um, I did it, although it didn't go live, actually, I did it and I was

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quite proud of myself for doing it.

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Then the article went in a different direction, which is

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disappointing, but I think it was good experience to do it anyway.

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And it's at the time the journalists will feel bad for that.

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And they'll try and keep you mind for something else.

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Maybe and like you say, it's just all practices isn't it as well.

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Yeah, cause it isn't, it can be a bit uncomfortable, especially when you're

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speaking to a journalist, as opposed to, writing something in your own words.

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And actually, have you got any advice for that?

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So if someone's got a all booked with a journalist tomorrow, have

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you got any advice on how best.

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Approach that or any, any tips at all, because it can be quite daunting,

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especially if you've never done it before.

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I mean, first of all, I would definitely at the end of the call say, oh, you

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know, I'll put what we've said in an email, or I'll summarize arise in an

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email and send that straight afterwards.

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Um, because then obviously you've, you know, you've got a bit more

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control of it because it's your words.

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So definitely if you're not sure about something, if a journalist asks you a

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question and you're not sure how you want to word that, you don't want to say.

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You know, on that phone call, then just say, oh, can I have a think about that?

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I'll put the answer to you by email.

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And obviously you've got a bit of time then to make sure it's crafted.

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Um, I, like I said, if it is like a case study and it's just a topic that's

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personal to you or could be controversial or could be then just that, you know,

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can I have a read back, you know, before it published or can you give me a heads

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up of what's going to be included?

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Um, so you're prepared for that.

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So, and you know, you also have to set boundaries as well.

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So if there's something you don't want to talk about, um,

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then just don't talk about it.

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Okay.

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You might not get that coverage.

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Is it worth it sort of thing.

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So a lot of the issues that I get is, um, for any of the businesses

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they'll want to know, okay, can you share the turnover of the business?

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Can you share the profit and not everyone wants to do that.

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And it's not always as straightforward if you've started it in lockdown.

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You might not have your set of figures then and things like that.

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So you've just got to set boundaries of what you can and can't share.

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And if you can't share, then say it on the email or at the start of

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the call, you know, I can't give you the financial information or I

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can't go into detail on X, Y, and Z.

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Um, and then it's up to the journalist then to make that call

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about whether it's worth it or not.

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Okay.

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So it sounds like it's worth just before you get on the phone.

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Just having to think through, I guess, what are the key

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things you want to talk about?

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What are the things you definitely don't want to talk about?

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I'm just making that super clear upfront because you're right I suppose

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you don't want to sort of be on the phone to 20 minutes and the journalist

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asks you a question and you say, oh, actually, I don't want to tell

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you that because they're possibly going to feel well that was a waste.

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Yeah.

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So maybe just give them the heads up at the start of the call or, you know, or

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I can't talk about this or I can't talk about, or perhaps in the email before.

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Um, just so they're really clear.

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That's really helpful.

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Thank you.

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Because yeah, I guess we all have to be really respectful of each other.

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Yeah.

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Time.

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Um, and the, yeah, one thing I'm really picking up from this whole conversation

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is a lot of it is about relationships.

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I guess, if you can be honest and sort of treat the other person with

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respect rather than seeing them helping you or see you helping them.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I feel that would get off to a much better start.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, exactly.

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And they're used to it as well.

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Like, you know, journalists are used to those conversations.

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Of course, they want to get the best story, but they're not, you know, they

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are used to those conversations as long as you're honest about what you

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can and what you can't talk about.

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Then the S the, the decisions on them, you know, it's like, I'll give you an example,

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as well as that I'm a freelance writer.

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So I wrote a piece for the I paper last week about blind dates, because I actually

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met my husband on a blind blind date.

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It was completely random.

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Love is blind.

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I think he is on Netflix.

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It was just the end of that show.

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And so the editor wanted someone to write a blind date.

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Now my husband is the complete opposite of me.

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He doesn't even have social media, even he's anti PR are he's like, don't want

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anyone to look at me or talk back there.

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So I had to go to my husband.

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They're going to mention, I'm going to write about our blind date.

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Um, are you okay?

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And a lot of times, uh, he doesn't want his name there.

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He's okay.

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We got a picture, but you know, he doesn't want his details there.

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Um, and so, yes, so you can navigate that.

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So during lockdown, he actually lost his job and I was the breadwinner.

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So I actually wrote for Glamour magazine about that relationship shift,

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but the editor came back to me and said, I want this from your husband.

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I want this from her husband, your husband.

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And my husband was like, no, I don't want to talk about this really.

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So I went back to the editor and say, no, I'm not covering these.

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I'm not covering this, but I'll do this, this and this.

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And that was fine.

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And the article got published.

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So yes, so I've gone through it as well.

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And I know it can be uncomfortable, but what's worse.

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You know, the coverage is amazing, but to hurt, someone that you love or your own

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self-esteem or your own emotions, it's not worth putting yourself through that.

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If you're not happy with the piece, there'll be other press coverage.

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Thank you.

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And just the final thing I want to ask you about Jenna, is that I don't know if

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other people have this perception, but all, and it might be because I'm shy.

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I find the thought of talking to journalists quite daunting.

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Um, partly because I think I don't have much practice with it.

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So it feels like quite a big thing.

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Have you got anything you can say to sort of reassure people?

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Um, so I mean, are journalists used to speaking to people who haven't had.

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much, you know, much PR exposure are very new to it.

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Is that something that journalists are just used to?

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Because, I mean, I, I feel like I'm not a bad speaker, but you

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know, sort of having to speak to a journalist fills me with dread.

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I feel like I could just forget.

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I mean, that's what they're trying to do it.

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They're trying to have been able to get the story out of case studies or,

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you know, that's what they're paid for as well to get the best story.

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So definitely wouldn't worry about that.

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And you know, I'd say almost all of the conversations that they have with people

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are not going to be experts speakers.

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They're not going to be experienced people, especially if they work

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in the real life and case studies and those sorts of things.

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So, yeah, I definitely wouldn't be, uh, worried, but you know, in the, in the,

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the worst case scenario, you can just let you know, can we do this by email, in

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the first instance, ask if you can send over your answers via email first, and

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then if they need anything clarifying, you can speak on the phone and then that

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phone call is going to be, yeah shorter.

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Hopefully, you know, you don't have to necessarily speak on the phone.

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I don't do a lot of phone calls now.

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I read a lot of the stuff I do is by email.

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So don't let that put you off.

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Um, there might be another way around if you really don't want

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to speak to them on the phone

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okay, thank you.

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I mean, obviously that question was about me, but I'm hoping that

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will help others as well because I can't be the only introvert

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Yeah, I don't mind actually talk a bit, so actually picking up the

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phone, dialing the number, that awkward introduction of what to say.

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And I really don't like phone calls that much, so you're definitely not alone.

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Oh, I like it when I'm on this end of it.

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Like, I love doing the podcast and talking to people, but put me on the other end.

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Like if I'm a guest on somebody else's podcast, um, I find that much

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more daunting for whatever reason.

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I find that yeah.

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Much scarier actually being on the other side of the microphone.

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So yeah, I've heard it that strangely.

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Well, thank you so much.

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Everything you shared today, Jenna.

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Um, one final question to finish on, um, and wheter we're talking about

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blogging or getting in the media, what would your number one piece of

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advice be for anyone listening who needs to get a bit more visibility?

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Yeah, I would just say, think outside the box and that can apply

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to both your blog content and your PR try to see both of those.

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It's not just, you know, it's going to make me X amount of money or it's

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going to get me X amount of sales.

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Think of how those work together and how they're going to help your visibility.

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And if you can take on something, that's a bit out of the box, whether

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that's writing a blog post that's outside the box or be the case study

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for an article that's not quite linked to your business and do it take those

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opportunities because they can take your business in different directions.

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Oh, that's amazing.

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Thank you.

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And thank you so much for everything that you've shared.

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So I'm going to link to your website in show notes.

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People can get a bit more information about your services

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and what you offer, and yeah.

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Thank you so much for being here.

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Thank you.

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thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you've enjoyed it, please do leave member of you that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and

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do tell your friends about it too.

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, you can find me@vickyweinberg.com.

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There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

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You'll find lots more information.

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All of the past podcast episodes and lots of free resources too.

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So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.