Author: Bonnie Harris

[caption id="attachment_4887" align="alignleft" width="114"] LA Nik the most famous guy I've never heard of[/caption] Last week I saw a social media post congratulation someone for getting booked on David Letterman. I knew a little bit about the supposed guest-to-be so I clicked on the press release - which was sent out on the wire. If you read the release carefully, it doesn't say anywhere that this  guy  is actually appearing on David Letterman. In fact, it doesn't say he's even booked on David Letterman, which would be enough of a faux pas. Instead the worthy news item is this (verbatim): "L.A. Nik, a man wealthy with friends and relationships, was introduced by longtime friend Barry ZeVan, the infamous television weatherman (now President and CEO of The ZeVan Corporation, a PR and Communications consultancy) to the segment producer at LATE NIGHT." Maybe the guy is booked on David Letterman and it's just a poorly written release. But to me, since it's titled "Guy in talks with David Letterman" it looks like they're basically touting the fact that he was introduced to a producer at Late Night.  SIGH.  I guess this is a good opportunity to  review some basic rules of press releases. Feel free to add some of your own. 

[caption id="attachment_4867" align="alignright" width="180" caption="Peggy Olsen is my hero."][/caption] A long time ago I got some of the best advice I've ever been given. Oddly enough it was business advice from a psychic woman claiming to be channeling alien beings (so I guess it was advice from aliens) but that's neither here nor there. What she/they told me was that, as a small business, I always needed to have three income streams. Three things that could generate revenue. If one went belly up I'd still be good to go.
So I am a marketing consultant, a PR person and a writer. The writing I only do on the side usually but for one client I'm doing marketing and writing. Do you remember the Mad Men episode this season where Peggy Olsen loses it in frustration in front of a client? That's just what I did last week. Rather than just feel like a fool I think there are some really good lessons that might be helpful for you too.

I had a short interaction last week on a friend's Facebook page about, of course, the Facebook IPO. When I mentioned that many of the same types of criticisms were applied to Amazon 10 years ago I got a spew of pretty much nonsensical comments. "Amazon took 10 years to become a good stock" "You only buy short term in the market" "Amazon finally made money because of the Kindle".  I'm sure those comments are correct in some weird context but as someone who bought Amazon at $16 in 2002 I think I kind of have the last laugh. So I confess...I bought Facebook stock the day of the IPO. And I'm holding it because I'll bet this is just a phase. One I can make money from. 

I got a survey from UPS this week (apparently to celebrate National Small Business Week) and I was surprised to see that over a third of small businesses still use direct marketing as a primary marketing strategy. I have never understood how business owners can be satisfied with such low response rates. Deliver Magazine claims that your response rate target should be your "break even" point. Their argument begins with  " let’s say that each response will bring you $100 in net revenue" and I've heard this before. NO. A response is does not automagically bring in revenue. A response is just that...a response.  Here's what I mean;