What to Do When People Hide Behind Email

imgres.jpegThere’s something really frustrating about people who don’t respond to emails. I have to admit that I too am guilty of that offense and I really think it’s time that those of us who don’t respond to a request should take a few seconds out of our day to return someone’s message. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve emailed media contacts only to be completely ignored over and over again. You know how that makes me feel? Pretty crappy, that’s how.
My husband and I had a conversation about how email is making it easier for people to be incredibly rude to other people who are just trying to get your attention. So for those of you who blatantly ignore people by not responding to their emails, here are some great comeback email lines that should get your contacts on the other end to smile, laugh and maybe even respond.
1. Automated Response from an Investment Banker: I’m sorry, I’m unavailable at this time.
1. Your Email Response: I wish I were unavailable too but I’ve got to pay for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and if you don’t get back to me, I’ll have to cancel the DJ.
2. You send several emails to a web editor at a major women’s site and they don’t respond.
2. Your Email Response: Obviously, all of my messages must have gone to spam so just in case, I’m going to keep sending you this email until you find time in your incredibly busy schedule to get back to me.
3. Email Response: I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to pass.
3. Your Email Response: I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to jump off a bridge.
4. Email Response: Thanks for reaching out. I’ll be in touch.
4. Your Email Response: That’s great. So when exactly would you like to be in touch? I’m free next Monday if that works for you.
5. Email Response: I’ll be out on maternity leave for the next six months – don’t leave me a message because I’m not going to be checking my emails.
5. Your Email Response: So what’s your excuse been for the last six months?
6. No Email Response – First Time
6. Your Response: You obviously must have missed my email – so I’m going to send this to you again just in case.
7. No Email Response – Second Time
7. Your Email Response: I’m sure you saw my last email, but just in case, I’m sending you this again, just to annoy you. 🙂
8. No Email Response – Third Time
8: Your Email Response: I’m sure you must have been busy all week with much more important things, but if you can take five seconds out of your day to respond to me, I will be able to sleep more soundly tonight.
9. No Email Response – Fourth Time
9. Your Email Response: Seriously? I have been email stalking you for the last week and I know you’re seeing my emails. So if you don’t get back to me, I’ll just drop by your office to make sure you’re still alive.
10. No Email Response – Fifth Time
10: Your Email Response: Okay. You win. Before you put out a restraining order on me, I will cease and desist on sending you emails. You’re obviously not interested and I can take the hint. It’s not like I was born yesterday or anything. I just want you to know that I know that you know that you have been reading all of my emails. So for all the time it took for you to wade through my lackluster messages, you could have just written back, “Sorry I’m not interested.”
Have any good comeback lines you want to share? I’d love to hear them so I can start using them on Monday!

Must See Webcast: Passions, Priorities & Community

I recently participated in a one-of-a-kind live web event that was held on behalf of the R Baby Foundation, which was established in 2006 to organize and fund efforts to improve the outcomes of medical care for infants, particularly those who contract certain viral infections within the first month of life. The R Baby Foundation is dedicated to helping newborn babies with often-misunderstood viral infections and other infectious diseases receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting education, research, treatment, training and life-saving equipment.
I had so much fun moderating the webcast along with the incredibly inspiring Emily McKhann, co-founder of The Motherhood. Panelists include R Baby founder Phyllis Rabinowitz, along with seasoned and successful mompreneurs: Brenda Berg, Nicole Feliciano, Lauren Parisier and Kimberly Seals Allers.
The session featured candid insights, intimate confessions and thoughtful advice from women who have built their lives and their businesses around their passions and priorities. In case you missed it, you can watch it below!

R Baby Foundation “Live” (Unedited) from TrakVu.com on Vimeo.

Feeling inspired but don’t know where to start first? Well, have no fear. Yours truly is launching an innovative fundraiser on behalf of RBaby. Starting today until Mother’s Day, I am offering one on one PR 365 consultation for your brand. And if you book a 30 minute session with me, I will donate the proceeds to the RBaby Foundation. Email me at beyondpr@gmail.com for details of how I can help you build your brand and you can help RBaby make a difference!
R Baby Foundation

Why Moms Cancel

As I’ve been touring the country promoting my new book, See Mom Run, I’ve had the opportunity to meet women who took time out of their busy day to laugh. Whether we were letting our hair down at Calista spa, getting our brows done in Boston, sharing hilarious stories at the YWCA in Ridgewood, meeting incredible moms at the JCC in Charlotte, or singing at the Comedy Sportz Theatre in Chicago, I have been thrilled that there are supportive women out there who take time away from errands, their kids schedules and everyday demands to get a dose of the See Mom Run spirit.
Though we’ve had a nice turnout at our events, what I have increasingly found are the number of women who don’t respond to our invites at all. Or better yet, the ones who say they will come and then at the eleventh hour send an email apologizing that they can’t make it due to either a work or family conflict. While I’ve been guilty of that offense myself, I’ve begun to make a concerted effort to attend the events I’ve committed to. The reason – if you say you’re going to be somewhere, people are counting on you to attend.
These days, it is so easy to cancel via email that we don’t even think about how those no shows affect the people, charities or companies hosting the event. While you may think no one will miss you if you flake and don’t show up, think again. You are one of many who do the same exact thing on a regular basis. More often than not, people cancel attending events more than the ones who actually go to them.
Now I know as much as anyone else that as moms, we all have a list a mile long of all the things we need to accomplish on a daily basis. Work a full time job. Supermarket shopping, laundry, clean the house, take kids to baseball, football, ice skating, birthday parties and more. What we don’t realize is that we get so caught up running on the treadmill of life that we’re missing out on experiencing those moments in time where dare I suggest it, we can actually enjoy ourselves and relax.
I recently read “Showing Up for Life” by Bill Gates Sr. where he shared anecdotes about how he always made it a point to attend social events, charity functions, professional gatherings and family get togethers. Every experience led to new opportunities – so much so that connections he and his wife made in their many charitable circles helped jumpstart the career of their son, Bill Jr. If you ask me, being a gazillionaire is not too shabby if all it took was showing up for life (and a brilliant son of course).
Trust me when I give you this important piece of personal and professional advice. You need to show up. Show up for a networking event that could lead to your next job or a consulting gig. Show up for an evening with your girlfriends and not a night in front of the TV playing Farm Animals on Facebook. Show up for a charity event or a book club party. Or a mah jong game. For God sakes, show up for life.
My grandma Dora used to have a saying about people who don’t show up for special occasions. “If you don’t come, you don’t have to go home.” With her thick Yiddish accent and a shrug of her shoulders, what grandma meant was that people who don’t come to social gatherings inevitably miss out. Sure I love staying home with my family and cuddling up on a crisp December night (and no, I refuse to wear the Snuggie my husband just purchased at True Value Hardware). But I also love the chance to visit new places, meet up with girlfriends, network with like-minded individuals, attend family gatherings or dare I say, go out on a date with my husband.
We are mothers, not martyrs and it’s about time we take time for ourselves by saying yes and meaning it. If you agree to attend a social event – whether it be for a friend, a relative, a charity, school or business associate, then do the right thing and show up. If you think you won’t be missed, then think again.
As the saying goes, you snooze you lose. So why not say yes and mean it next time? And here’s another tip – it’s okay to say no too. If you know from the start you can’t make an event, you’re much better off being upfront and honest than stringing someone along and canceling at the last minute. Of course, you can never predict whether your child is going to come down with swine flu, but for the most part, you should be able to gauge whether you can stay true to your word.
So why not give it a shot? Reunite with old friends or network with the people who may hold the key to your next big break. Show up for life and stop making excuses. And you never know. You may even find yourself having a great time along the way.

Breaking into Talk Shows

Today’s PR lesson of the day centers on timely topics where you could fit in and promote yourself, your book, product or brand. If you’ve watched the Today Show lately, you can get a feel for how they produce a segment and then figure out how you might be the perfect guest for them.
Here’s how it works. If you watched today’s segment, which focused on women and body image, you’ll see that they featured Cindy Lieve, the editor in chief of Glamour who shared the results of a survey the magazine just did on women and body image (surprise, we all still think we’re fat). They paired Cindy with the author of a new book about body image – a woman with a lovely British accent who I think contributed two comments to the conversation and the third guest was a psychologist whose specialty was…you guessed it, body image – she only spoke once, if you’re keeping score.
So that’s the trifecta of a morning show television segment. Magazine editor, author, psychologist. So if you’re not an author, magazine editor or psychologist, how do you break in? Simple. Sometimes they also like to round out a segment with a mom expert. So what’s your specialty? Are you a green mom? A gaming mom? An Internet safety mom? A cooking and recipe mom? If you do have a niche, you actually have a much better chance of being picked for a news or talk show because producers can clearly see what your blog offers readers. If you’re more of a generalist (like me), then it will be much harder for you to break in. The reason for that is simple. While you may believe you are the all-knowing mom in the blogosphere, not having a specialty works against you – especially since those Today Show producers have just written a parenting book themselves. Why do they need you when they have each other?
I don’t want to depress you so here’s how you can beat the system. Figure out the topic that suits you best and bring in experts that’ll round out the segment and showcase you too. Even better, if you follow the Today Show on twitter, they actually send out messages when they’re looking for guests for a story.
As for the Queen of Talk, Kristin at Spirited Woman said the best way for a mom to break in is to visit Oprah.com and keep paying attention to the site and what shows they’re working on. Kristin actually got a call back for their talented kids show – that doesn’t mean she’s booked, but at least she got a call back. And trust me, when you have the email address and phone number of an Oprah producer that doesn’t mean you’re going to get anywhere fast. They do not return calls or emails unless they’re interested. And if they’re not interested, you are pretty much dead in the water.
For local TV news or radio shows, your best bet is to pitch the reporter who covers the topic that best suits you or visit the website and send your story to them as well. Another idea is to secure a newspaper placement on your business or book and then reach out to TV reporters with that story. A lot of times TV news is driven by print media so don’t count out newspapers when trying to make your mark.
The bottom line on breaking in is to do your homework. Study the network morning shows and the local news and pay attention to the stories they’re covering on a regular basis and then figure out how you could fit in. It’s not easy to do but with a little ingenuity and persistence, you may one day find yourself in the TV hot seat.

How to Be A Vlogging Superstar

Today’s PR training tips are all about vlogging. And while I contemplated recording a video of me talking about how to vlog, I realized that turning my webcam on without any make-up on would scare most of you away. And so, I’ve decided to share my tips in writing. Use them wisely and get ready to become a vlogging fiend.
First things first. If you are uncomfortable in front of the camera then you do not have to vlog. If you’re best at writing and feel that you’d rather stay anonymous, there is nothing wrong with that decision at all. Let your identity remain a mystery and continue focusing on what you do best and if it’s writing fabulous pearls of wisdom about your family, then go forth and write like a mad woman.
Now, for those of you who are parenting experts, organization experts, entrepreneurs, authors, nutritionists, fitness gurus and more, I have a suggestion to make. Start vlogging immediately. Okay, not immediately, but as soon as possible. The faster you get your videos up on your site, the sooner a TV producer might stumble upon your blog and give you your big break. So before you turn that webcam on, here are some tips on how to create scintillating content.
1. Before you start videotaping, write down some ideas of what you’d like to film. Do you want to interview someone, record your kids in action, look straight into the camera and share your tips on how to lose 10 pounds in three days (if you are that person, I’d like to watch your vlog), you get the drift. Just like a producer, map out a plan of different segments you’d like to tackle and then get ready, get set and start shooting.
2. Wait right there. So you’ve turned on your webcam or put your Flip on a tripod but you just realized that you have absolutely no make-up on your face. And you look scary. If your goal is to offer advice to a mom and your blog is more professional in tone, then you need to slap on a little color so that you don’t scare away your viewers. Of course, if you’re a funny mom and the disheveled look is part of your shtick, then go for it, but even when I try to be humorous, I like to be wearing lipstick.
3. Here’s a pet peeve of mine that I see not only on Vlogs but on media interviews and I am here to say to you – please cease and desist from inserting the words “Um,” “You know” and “like” in any sentence that you feel is missing a word. Watch yourself after you’ve recorded a video and if you’ve said “um” forty times in your vlog, do not upload it. Work on removing the “ums.” It is difficult to do, but just think – your vlog is your very own media training kit and clip reel all in one. By the time you’re ready for the Today Show or Oprah you will be Um free.
4. Be a storyteller. The best vlogs tell stories. In fact, if you visit Rantings of a Creole Princess she’s one of my favorite vloggers on the Internet because she’s a real person who acts like a television personality. You have the ability to be Oprah in your own home. And why do we love Oprah? Because she’s natural, she has fun, she tells great stories and well, she’s Oprah. So watch your favorite talk shows and discover why they are amazing at what they do. The engage the viewer. They listen to their guests and they are incredible conversationalists. If you have these qualities, you are well on your way to vlogging success.
5. Finally, if you don’t have time to write, but are completely comfortable sharing your advice on camera, then vlogging or podcasting is totally for you. I like to do a combination of both since sometimes when I’m posting a blog I’m wearing sweatpants, my hair is in a pony tail and frankly, it’s easy to chat on my Blog Talk Radio show without fear of seeing my double chin on camera. But seriously, one of my favorite vloggers who are masters at offering advice on camera are the ladies at Mom Generations (www.momgenerations.com) – they look great, are engaging and offer tips you can use in an entertaining video format.
6. Take your show on the road. The fabulous women at Five Minutes for Mom (www.fiveminutesformom.com) are also pros at vlogging and just like those correspondents at Entertainment Tonight, they vlog from events, red carpets and more. If you’re ready to step out in front of the cameras, strike a pose and interview stars, I say go for it. You too could be Mary Hart or Lara Spencer. All you need is confidence, a great outfit…oh and good questions for your interview subject.
7. Wait…before you’re ready to start recording, I have one last tip if you’ve actually been discovered by a talk show producer and they’ve invited you to appear as an expert on their show. Do not, under any circumstances hit your hand against your chest while you are speaking. If you do, you will slap your microphone and leave a big reverberating sound for all the viewers to hear. All pros know that you don’t touch your microphone – so if you have to, sit on your hands, sit up straight and don’t fidget!
Hope this helps! And feel free to send me your videos so I can post on Role Mommy too – would love to see how you’re launching your platform straight from your home!

The Ins & Outs of Events

In the past week, I’ve spoken with a lot of bloggers on a topic that has been weighing on their minds. The topic du jour is events for bloggers. If you’ve been blogging for a while and your site is receiving lots of traffic, you have probably been on the receiving end of several invitations to attend events. These events range from conventions to events in your area to online teleseminars. When all you’re trying to do is blog, how can you make sense of the events that are right for you?
Well, as someone who hosts events for moms, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the events that work, the ones that don’t, the ones that moms love and the ones we can do without. So here’s an overview and if you have a story to share, please send it my way.
INTIMATE GATHERINGS: Some of my favorite gatherings are the ones where I am invited to a breakfast or lunch with a limited number of bloggers in attendance. After I was invited to a breakfast sponsored by Subway, I got the chance to finally meet Katja Presnal and we’ve been friends ever since. What I loved about that breakfast was that Subway wanted to hear from the bloggers – getting a sense of what would interest our respective communities. When a company reaches out to you at the beginning of their campaign, it’s pretty cool to be on the ground floor of helping them shape their media and marketing plans. If they want you to participate in a focus group, you should also ask for compensation. Time is worth money – consider yourself a social media consultant and do not let them take advantage of your expertise.
EXPERIENCES THAT YOU KNOW YOU’LL LOVE: If you’re invited to an event where you’re totally going to have a great time along with other fun bloggers, there really is no downside if you have time in your day to swing by. Some of my favorite experiences (thanks Nintendo, Disney, Glamour and Suave) have taken place because I’ve accepted invites to events for products and services I would love to try and feature on my blog. Plus, some of my favorite bloggers attend these events too, so it gives me a chance to catch up with friends. When I produce events, I always plan them with bloggers in mind – giving writers plenty of time to network while attending an event that will be enjoyable and entertaining at the same time. One of my favorite event hosts is Barbara Jones at One2One Network, a former music executive who knows how to combine fabulous workshops with amazing entertainment.
NETWORKING EVENTS: While there seem to be meet-ups, tweet-ups and conventions taking place all the time, your time is valuable. Pick the meet-ups that make sense for you. And since conventions can be pricey – speak to blogger friends about the events that truly made the best use of their time. If you’re looking to learn about blogging, enhance visibility to your site and meet new people, then Blogher or Blissdom might be great for you. If you’re already an expert blogger, then you should either be a speaker at these events or you might want to try smaller gatherings where you can connect with other like-minded women who might offer great insight or leads to help you build your platform.
ONLINE EVENTS: Since my expertise is media, I usually participate in Twitter’s Journchat every Monday night. These events are spearheaded by PR guru Sarah Evans (follow her on twiiter at #prsarahevans). I love seeing the comments and questions fly and for me, I find it incredibly valuable to get a sense from journalists and publicists about what pitches work and which fall flat on their face. For moms, there are plenty of parties going on each week. Twittermoms hosts wine tasting events, Resourceful Mommy hosts Sitewarming Parties with tons of giveaways and Katja Presnal offers chats and in person meet-ups on mastering Social Media. I’m not saying you should be online all day but determine the chat that suits your interests best and attend when you can.
Bottom line – your time is valuable and while it would be great to say yes to every invitation you receive – you should be selective and decide which events will truly interest you and make for great material on your blog or lead to a valuable networking opportunity.
If you have a story to share about a positive event experience, then send us your comments today!