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Great versus remarkable

January 15, 2020

I think we, as marketers and business owners, have to adjust our expectations. Many business leaders assume that if their organization delivers its promises, that is enough. If all you’re hoping for is a satisfied client – it may be. But if you are expecting your customers to shout from the rooftops how remarkable you are just because you did your job like you said you would, you might be disappointed.

For the last several months, I have been using a cleaning service called The Queen of Clean. Every time they came to clean my house, they did a great job. They were leaps and bounds better than the cleaning company I had been using so they exceeded my expectations, based on what I had been receiving previously.

They left a checklist, showing me what they’d done, and the house was spotless when they left. They kept their promise to me.

In return, I continued our contract and had them come back. But I didn’t tell anyone about them. I didn’t recommend them to anyone. I didn’t leave a positive review anywhere. I didn’t even reach out to the owner to let her know they were doing a great job.

I like to think I’m a nice guy and I understand the power of reviews. So why didn’t I make the effort?

I was satisfied. But nothing more. The good job that the cleaning crew was doing didn’t inspire me to do anything but let them come back. They did what they promised, and I did what I promised in return. The exchange was equitable.

Then, something changed. I came home after being gone for five days. The cleaning crew had been scheduled to clean while I was gone and clean they did. I walked into a very clean house, and I was satisfied.

I went into the master bathroom, and when I flipped on the lights, I started to laugh. One of the ladies had taken the time to use the vacuum cleaner hose to “sculpt” Mickey Mouse’s head into my bathroom rug. As you might guess if you know anything about me, my entire house has a healthy sprinkling of Disney items throughout so she just added to my “collection” of Disney art but in a very original way.

At that moment, I went from being a happy customer to being a delighted one.

Here’s what I did in response:

  • I took pictures of the rug and posted them on my Facebook wall, and I tagged the Queen of Clean’s Facebook page
  • I liked the Queen of Clean’s Facebook page and wrote a post, sharing my photo and telling them how Tori’s artwork had made my day
  • I left them their first review on Angie’s List
  • I left a 5-star review on YELP which counterbalanced a very negative review
  • I saw on their Facebook page that they were supporting a charitable event, so I participated in that opportunity with them
  • I am writing about them and mentioning them by name on purpose, so other people can learn about them

All of that happened not because they did a good job cleaning my house, but because they made me laugh out loud. Because they paid attention to who I was as a customer and went out of their way to do a little something extra that had nothing to do with their core service.

A little something extra. That’s all it takes to go from having a satisfied but silent customer to creating a fan who will sing your praises on review sites, to their friends, and on social media.

Which would you prefer?

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Where will you be a year from now?

January 8, 2020

I know you’re barely getting used to writing 2020, but I want to get you to think about 2021 for a few minutes because before we know it, it will be here. Will your organization be in the same spot a year from now?

As the slow start of January wanes and everyone is gearing up for a busy Q1, my fear is that you’re going to get so caught up in the day to day grind and before you know it’s going to be December and you’re going to wonder where the year has gone.

I’m a firm believer in you achieve what you measure, so let’s talk about creating a simple dashboard that will help you ensure that you are where you want to be in 2021.

You may have an elaborate business plan but in many cases, once it’s done and approved – it sits in a filing cabinet or a folder on your laptop and never sees the light of day again.

But this simple dashboard can literally be posted in your company’s break room or a single sheet document that gets updated and shared monthly. It becomes a working tool rather than a plan that you dust off every so often.

First, you need to decide what matters most. Take some time and answer these questions.

  1. If you can only accomplish one thing this year – what would matter most to your business?
  2. What system or process improvement (or addition) would impact your business the most?
  3. What is the most single most important financial metric you should monitor to gauge the health of your organization?
  4. When you think about your workforce, what one metric (retention, employee satisfaction, etc.) could you measure to track the stability of your team?
  5. How will you track/monitor how you’re doing in terms of customer delight? (Don’t shoot for satisfaction – that’s like working hard for a C.)
  6. Last but definitely not least – what is the one thing you, as the leader, could change, learn, or add to your skillset that would really be a game-changer for your organization?

Once you’ve answered these questions, identify a monthly metric that you could easily use to measure your progress on achieving each of those mini-goals. You may have to implement some measurement mechanism, like a monthly employee satisfaction survey but if you can’t measure it – it doesn’t count.

Once you’ve decided what you need to measure and how you’re going to get those monthly metrics, you need to decide when you’re going to review/discuss the monthly results. Odds are you hold some sort of leadership or management level meeting on a weekly or monthly basis. You need to build this dashboard into that meeting’s agenda.

But don’t stop there. Share these six metrics with your entire team. Yes, even the leadership goal you’ve set for yourself. Let them know that these are the barometers you’re going to be using to track how the company is doing throughout the year. I think you’ll be surprised at how interested they are in helping you hit these metrics.

If your organization doesn’t have a good meeting process that allows you to focus on making progress on key goals, rather than just a status report, I highly recommend the book Traction by Gino Wickman.

The book has a brilliant framework for taking on large, internal projects that normally get lost in the shuffle or drag on forever – and actually getting them done quickly and well.

Here’s the amazing thing – if you actively watch and work on moving the needle in the six items on this list, your organization will be healthier, stronger and more profitable a year from now.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Do you or don’t you gate your content?

December 31, 2019

Your website is your marketing workhorse. The more people who visit it and find the content compelling, the better. It should reflect not only what you sell but also who you are as a company and how you connect with your customers.

Unfortunately, it’s not a “build it and they will come” sort of a deal. We need to go out and find our audience and entice them to visit our site. For many organizations, creating compelling content is one of the core ways they get that done.

Creating content that is of value to your audience is a topic we’ll explore in the future because it deserves more than a mention. But for now, we’re going to assume you’ve already created some killer content that will really teach your audience something of value and that they’d be anxious to get it.

Once it’s been created, the question becomes how you do want to allow them to access it? Do you want to just let them download it without you requiring any information or do you want to gate the piece? If you don’t know, gated content refers to the act of putting something on your website or landing page that people want and asking them for information in exchange for that information.

There are some distinct advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

Advantages of gated content:

  • You’ll know who is accessing the content so you can gauge the content’s effectiveness in terms of attracting your target audience.
  • You’ll have some contact information so you can continue to market to them with additional content/offers.
  • When people have to “pay” for something with their email address or contact information, the perceived value is higher

Disadvantages of gated content:

  • Many of your website visitors will opt out of downloading the content because they don’t want to give up their anonymity.
  • If you’re using the content to earn links, shares and social amplification, the barriers will make that tougher.
  • Depending on how you protect the content, you may lose SEO opportunities.

Advantages of open access content:

  • You will get your content into the hands of the largest possible audience if there are no barriers to accessing it.
  • If you’re going to use retargeting, a larger audience is ideal.
  • Social shares and unlimited access will drive traffic metrics, SEO benefits, and page rankings.

Disadvantages of open access content:

  • It’s tough to create leads or connect eventual sales from anonymous visitors.
  • You can’t follow up or proactively offer additional content or support to your site visitors.
  • It’s difficult to know if your content is attracting your ideal audience when you allow them to remain anonymous.

There’s no right or wrong answer. And gated versus open access aren’t the only two answers. You might want to consider a hybrid solution.

You can create semi-gated content or layered content. With this strategy, you would create an introductory piece that you would give away without restrictions. As a part of that piece, you’d invite them to get even more goodness, if they want it. Then, you expand on the original piece to create something with so much value that people will gladly trade their email address for it.

Whether you gate, ungate or semi-gate – it all boils down to offering something that is truly helpful or valuable. It can’t be about you or feel like a sales pitch. Once you have something good to offer, carefully consider your end game and weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully.

There isn’t one right or wrong answer. But odds are there is a strategy that is more aligned with your goals.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Why referrals can’t be the only answer

December 24, 2019

When I meet a business owner or leader, I love learning about their organization and how they attract new clients. Once they find out I own an agency, the talk almost always turns to marketing and sales. Inevitably they will say something along the lines of “most of our business comes from referrals” and for them, I believe this actually translates to:

“We don’t have to do much marketing because our customers are happy enough with us that they send us their friends.”

There is no more powerful marketing than a referral. It’s inexpensive, effective and odds are, the sale is usually a slam-dunk. Today, thanks to all of the rating and review sites out there, our referral reach is greater than ever before.

But it’s not enough. All referrals are not equal. I’m guessing you are serving a client right now that you aren’t making a dime on and in fact, you are probably paying for the privilege of working with them. Why? Because one of your good clients made the referral, so you feel obligated. Let’s call this referral customer Bargain City.

I’m also guessing you are serving customers today who need things that are not quite in your wheelhouse but you have gerry rigged your process or system to accommodate them. Sure, it’s more expensive and labor-intensive to do, but it’s how you make them happy. For the sake of the conversation, let’s call this client Custom.

Let’s look at this pattern and see where it goes. Referrals are wonderful and satisfying. There’s nothing better than having a customer love you and your work enough that they introduce you to someone who is important to them and ask us to take good care of them. While they are wonderful endorsements from clients we greatly value, they are also an obligation. We feel compelled to serve them because we don’t want to disappoint the referral source. This is not really an issue if most of your referrals come from an anonymous online source. But for most of us, the lion’s share of the referrals are coming from within our own customer base and often times, from the clients we value the most.

So when they send someone our way, we do feel a sense of obligation. Which is how we find ourselves serving Bargain City and Custom. Having one or two of these types of new customers isn’t an issue. We can probably afford to take on one or two less profitable clients. And our systems can tolerate one or two aberrations from our carefully created processes that allow us to deliver incredible results efficiently. It’s not ideal but we’ll survive both.

But if we rely on referrals as our sole or biggest source of new opportunities, then over time, those anomalies become not the exception, but the rule. Now we have a problem. Now, we are losing money over price and process. And someone else is defining our business for us.

The truth is, the more referrals you get, the more and better your marketing needs to be. You need to clearly define for the marketplace (including your current clients) that you best serve, the specific products, services and outcomes you deliver. Your marketing and outbound sales efforts need to create boundaries and thresholds, so both your existing customers and their referrals can clearly see how you do business. And you need to attract and win enough “right fit” customers that you can afford to take on a few Bargain City and Custom clients to honor your existing relationships.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Be findable!

December 18, 2019

Who doesn’t want to be found? Whether you have a retail shop or sell your time and talent – every business needs to be findable. There’s an expression that says “if Google doesn’t know you exist, then you don’t exist” and in today’s world, there’s a lot of truth in that statement.

We know that 80+% of people use the internet to do research before making a purchase. That number gets even larger when the purchase is expensive or is business related. If Google doesn’t offer you up as an option, you may never get the opportunity to try to win the sale.

For many businesses, their circle of influence and potential customers are within a certain radius of their physical location. If you’re a dry cleaners, then you know your radius may not be more than a couple miles. But if you’re a financial planner or lawyer, it may be 100 miles or more.

There are some strategies you can employ to make sure you’re found when someone in your local market conducts a search for your kind of business. None of this is a promise of first page placement but the more of these tactics you put into place and keep updated, the better your search ranking will be.

You absolutely can spend money on Google Adwords or other paid search options. But before you do that – make sure you have a strong foundation laid.

Make sure you are listed: Go to https://www.google.com/business and search for your business. You can claim your business (you’ll have to verify it through the mail or by phone). Be sure to include quality photos of your business, your team and even a few of the items you sell.

Even though Google is the king of search, don’t neglect Bing, Yelp, Apple Maps, Facebook and any other directories specific to your industry.

Establish citations: Citations are websites where you can list your business. There are a bazillion of these sites, so don’t try to do it all by hand. There are sites out there called aggregators that will provide your information to all of these citation sites. Or you can use a service like Moz Local (https://moz.com/local/overview) or Yext (http://www.yext.com/).

Actively seek reviews: Most business-to-business organizations dismiss reviews as being “a retail thing.” And most retail businesses dread the review discussion. The truth is, you’re going to trigger reviews, whether you want them or not. So why not influence them so you can invite your happiest, best clients to speak out?

Unless you’re in an industry that has a very well-known specialty review site, focus on Google and if it makes sense for your business, Yelp. Don’t waste a lot of time on obscure sites that don’t get a lot of traffic.

Credibility links: Are you a member of the local Chamber? Or is your company profiled on a trade association’s site? Think about all of the places your business exists online and link to them within the context of your site. Whether it’s a membership, an award or even a media story – take advantage of the power of the other sites’ credibility and Google juice by linking directly to them.

Build your site with search in mind: Some of the basics really matter. As you write or add content to your website, remember to be smart about key words, the number of words on each page and other organic search basics.

No matter what your company does, search is incredibly competitive. You can’t afford to ignore this marketing playing field any more. But, before you spend a dime, make sure you’ve done everything you can for free to impact your listings. That will become a much stronger platform to launch from.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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The evolution of customer service

December 11, 2019

If you’ve been in business for a few decades, you probably remember discussing whether or not you should get an 800 number to up your customer service game. Why not let your customers call you for free? Mobile packages and unlimited calling have made that notion pretty obsolete. You also published your mailing address on your packaging or your sales literature so customers could send you a letter if they wanted to communicate. When was the last time that happened?

Back in the 90s, the web took center stage and you might have added a contact us form or link to your very first website. You might have even created a customerservice@yourcompany.com email address. Even though that was almost 20 years ago – for many companies, that’s where the customer service innovation stopped.

Unfortunately for those companies, their customers’ expectations aren’t stuck in 1999 anymore. Whether we’re ready or not, consumers aren’t content with anything less than real-time customer service and they are taking to review sites and social media, expecting us to be there listening.

In this era of the digital age, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter have become a customer experience/service channel. Consumers turn to these sites because they’re right at their fingertips and they’re looking for a response. Now. Research shows that when consumers reach out to a brand on a social channel, they expect a response within an hour.

This shift is being called social customer service and if you want to earn and keep loyal customers, its adoption is not really optional. While the consumers are flocking to these new channels, brands are not there yet. In fact, a recent study conducted by Rational Interaction discovered that 95.2% of brands are failing at social customer service on Twitter.

The study examined communication patterns from 76 brands in a variety of industries including retail, tech, and healthcare after a consumer had directly reached out about an issue or problem. Remember, they’re expecting to hear back within 60 minutes. But instead, 58% of customers don’t get a response at all. That’s not just rude, it’s bad for business.

When a consumer’s tweets go unanswered, they’ll do more than unfollow. 55% of consumers reported switching to a different brand because of poor service on Twitter and 60% have then tweeted about the poor customer service they received, which has a ripple effect that can cost you money and your reputation.

Maybe it’s time you consider how you’re handling social customer service? Here are some best practices:

Create a customer service handle/identity: Rather than using your brand’s marketing handles, why not create @service-your company Twitter handle or Facebook page? That way, customer communications won’t get lost in the flurry of marketing activity and these specific channels can be monitored 24/7 but staff who are equipped to deal with customer issues.

Use hashtags to flag customer concerns: If you don’t want to monitor multiple channels, you can teach your consumers to use a hashtag like #yourcompanyhelpme to signal that they are looking for a response. You will still need to set up monitoring tools so you don’t miss a communication.

Create a team to monitor your channels 24/7: You can’t think of this as an M-F, 9-5 type of communication. Use a dedicated smartphone that can be passed between team members, but someone should always be “on call.”

The study from Rational Interaction showed that companies that take one of these approaches missed less than 5% of the customer service related tweets and were 28% more likely to get compliments from their loyal tribe.

Social media is the great equalizer. It allows small organizations to behave, connect and succeed like their bigger counterparts. Don’t miss this simple but critical way of connecting to your consumers. Are you going to be there when they reach out?

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Your inner circle

December 4, 2019

A business is influenced by so many people that as business leaders, we need to choose those influences carefully and cautiously. That’s even truer when it comes to our inner circle.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn is probably most famous for his statement that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. And yet very few of us actually decide who those people are. A big part of my annual reflection/planning time is to carefully choose who I want those five people to be and to schedule the time with them for the entire year so I make sure we get enough time together.

But before I can schedule the time, I need to decide on exactly who I want those five people to be. Here are some of the criteria I consider and by the way, these are not just people who influence my business life. They influence my whole life and make me a better business owner, marketing guy, coach, client advocate, boss, friend, dad, etc. I want to surround myself with people who will make me a better me, not just a better business me.

Who inspires me to a level of excellence that forces me to really stretch myself? They say that if you want to get better at a game, you should play with people who can beat you every time. I need to hang out with people who are further along, more adept and more successful than I am if I want to keep getting better.

Who is willing to teach me? Just because someone has something to teach me does not mean they are open to being the teacher. I need to seek out those who have much to share and are willing to be patient with me while I learn.

Who can I teach? I believe we learn the most when we’re helping someone else learn. Who is willing to let me learn alongside them?

Who will challenge me and call me out when I need it? Let’s face it; it’s easy to surround yourself with cheerleaders. But we also need those who will hold us capable and accountable and let us know when we’ve dropped the ball or missed the mark.

Who sees me more clearly than I see myself? It’s impossible to accurately describe the outside of a bottle when we’re inside the bottle. We need objectivity and someone who sees us as we truly are.

Who thinks very differently than I do and will push me to consider new possibilities? My way is never the only way and often not the right way. I want to be with people who approach challenges and opportunities from a different place.

Who fills me with joy? If I am going to spend a lot of time with these people, I want them to do more than make me better. I want them to love me. I want them to make me laugh. I want to look forward to our time together and I want to add value to their life too.

It may seem calculated or silly to be this intentional about the people you spend the most time with. But I can tell you that I’ve been doing this annual exercise for years and I can point to specific changes in my business and personal life that I can directly attribute to my inner circle. There’s no doubt that I’m better because of them.

So, for me, this is a business must. Give it a try and let me know in 365 days how it played out for you.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Build your buying journey step by step

November 27, 2019

One of the staples of marketing is the ability to understand how a human being goes from never having heard of you to actually buying something from you, time and time again. In simple terms, it can be thought of as a sales funnel. But, that suggests a very linear, logical progression and if there’s anything we know about humans, there’s nothing linear or logical about them!

When marketers talk about the buying journey and it gets plotted out, it often looks like a roadmap for a very squiggly, hairpin-turn filled cross-country trek. It used to be pretty easy to map out the customer’s path from lead to loyalty but the Internet has completely changed that. The linear buying pattern no longer exists.

Today, the buying decision is very fluid and three-dimensional. The prospects flow in and out of the stages (Awareness, Credibility, Connection and Loyalty) in a more web-like fashion – with some staying in the early stages for months or years and others rushing from “you’re on my radar screen” to “do you want to get married” in what feels like a nano-second. There are so many more entry points today, that it’s easy to get stuck along the way, especially if you haven’t built in escape hatches to the next level.

In general, prospects are more cautious and reticent today than ever before. The stakes are higher because their organization’s tolerance for slow or no results is very short. Potential customers are often very skittish and slow to make a decision. In fact, in many industries, the sales cycle is twice or three times as long as it was ten years ago.

Prospects can linger in the Awareness and Credibility phases for years. At MMG, we had a prospect carry newspaper clippings from some of my Business Record columns for years before he picked up the phone to set a meeting. Until that call – we had no idea he was in our sales funnel or that we were on his radar.

Some elements in the prospect’s buying journey are accidental and difficult to plan or replicate. Others are very deliberate. It’s important to sketch it out by identifying ALL of the elements you can think of, whether you created them on purpose or they’re just happy coincidence.

For the awareness phase, for example, think of all the ways someone could learn about you and your offerings for the first time. That might range from seeing you at a trade show to clicking on a digital display ad. Put together as comprehensive a list as possible.

In the next phase, it’s all about earning your credibility. Why should they pay attention to what you have to say? Build out that list. It’s going to include tactics like content marketing and public relations. But you’re not done once the list is complete.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the buyer’s journey is the connective tissue between phases. How will you move someone from awareness to credibility?

Once you’ve mapped out the tactics that live in each phase and the activities that connect one phase to another, there’s one more step. Because we’re so visually oriented, I want you to create an infographic that captures this information in a way that you can use it to educate your staff and think through your actual business development activities. There’s no way you’ll be able to actually execute on all the tactics in each phase but mapping it out visually will help you make better decisions and identify those tactics that you need to move prospects from one level to the next.

From there, you can create a marketing plan and activities calendar for 2020 that will guide your budget, decisions and action plan.

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Clients You Love

November 20, 2019

The truth is not every client is created equal. We all know that there are clients we love to serve. We’re able to provide them with incredible value and they appreciate the work we do. The relationship goes beyond the transaction and makes our work meaningful. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to work with a bunch of customers like that?

That doesn’t have to be just a dream. If you’re willing to invest a little bit of time profiling your best customers, you can replicate them. There are no bad customers. But there are definitely bad customers for each of our organizations. I believe marketing gets a whole lot easier when you have a clear picture of exactly who you should and who you should not serve. How different would your business be if you only served people who resemble your best and most loved clients?

At MMG we call those sweet spot customers. They’re the customers that you can delight every time. They’re your best referral sources and they tend to stick around for a long time. The truth is that companies are living entities and some are better matches than others. It’s not enough that they need what you sell. Lots of people are potential customers. But not all of them are sweet spot customers.

Marketing becomes a whole lot easier when you can narrow down your audience. You can be very specific, knowing that your message will resonate with exactly who you’re trying to reach. Unfortunately, most businesses never drill down to define who their best customers are.

Here’s an exercise you can do with your internal team to begin to understand how to recognize your right-fit clients.

Start by thinking of the client you love – the one you’d most like to replicate. If you could have ten of any particular client – which client would you choose? Now identify your next two favorite clients of all time. Now we have a sample of three clients you’d gladly work for over and over again.

Take some time to think about those three clients. What do they have in common?

  • Was it the kind of work you got to do for them?
  • Was it their budget size or their approval process?
  • How about their structure?
  • Were they all the same age, gender or have some other demographic in common?
  • How large was their organization?
  • Were they leaders in their industry or were they the underdogs?
  • How did they communicate?

That’s just scratching the surface but you get the idea. Dig deep and find the commonalities that made them such a perfect fit. In most cases, you’ll come up with a list of 5-8 traits they all had in common. Think of that list as your best client filter. Next time you have the opportunity to chase after a new client, compare them to the list. If they don’t possess most of the same characteristics, odds are they aren’t going to be a sweet spot client. This matrix is an objective tool that you can use to determine which prospects would be your best fit and worth pursuing with a vengeance.

Not only will you know who you should ideally pursue, but you’ll know how to talk to them. You’ll know what matters most to them and what they value. All of that insight should be woven into your marketing messages as well. By writing specifically to them, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting the kinds of clients you can successfully win and keep.

And let’s be honest – it’s a lot more fun to work for people who love and appreciate your efforts and who you enjoy as well. Why not stack the deck so you only work with customers like that?

This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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Tools of the trade

November 13, 2019

One of the best outcomes of the proliferation of the Internet into all of our worlds is the access that it affords us to information, each other, and tools that make our jobs easier. In our work for clients, we’ve found some tools that allow us to help clients react faster, smarter and produce more relevant marketing materials.

Help A Reporter Out (helpareporter.com): This site allows reporters to post stories they’re working on and in response, for brands to offer themselves as a source to those reporters. Three times a day (5:35 am, 12:35 pm and 5:35 pm) you will receive an email filled with source requests from reporters.

If any of the stories they’re working on are related to your product or service, you just email the reporter, answer the questions they’ve specified and if you’re a good source for the story, the reporter will reach out to you for more details, an interview, etc.

The story topics and media outlets are as varied as you can imagine. But these are not no-name publications. Reporters from the New York Times, Fast Company Magazine, Good Morning America and many other mainstream media use the tool on a regular basis.

Just Reach Out (justreachout.io): This site in some ways is the flip side of Help A Reporter Out. Instead of reporters listing what they’re working on, this site allows you to add keywords or a competitor into a search query and the site will search news, blogs, and articles to find reporters who have written about something similar to what you do.

Then the site will show you the journalists, their contact information and offer up templates that you can modify so you can reach out to the reporters. The site also helps with timing your pitch and other elements (subject line, etc.) to increase your hit rate.

Sell Hack (sellhack.com): This is a tool that will help you build out your list of potential sales leads. SellHack is a browser extension that helps you build targeted lists so you can reach out to people who you’d like to reach. Let’s say you went to a conference and got a list of attendees but not their email addresses. You can upload that list into SellHack and they’ll do the heavy lifting by uncovering your sales prospect’s email addresses while searching their social profiles.

SellHack checks the information you provide against multiple data sources. If the search is successful, you will get a validated email for the profile. If SellHack can’t find a valid result, it will present a ‘copy all’ button to copy/paste or email the different variations it generates.

Video Lean (videolean.com): This website allows subscribers to create template videos on the fly. We all know how important video is on the web and for many companies, producing a custom video is just not in the budget. Don’t misunderstand – the videos you can make on the site are a far cry from a custom project. But if you need to produce some down and dirty video content for your website or blog – this may be the ticket.

You choose a template based on your type of business and the kinds of information you want to convey. You customize the template by adding text, images and music in a very simple to use interface and three minutes later, you are served up a low-resolution preview so you can tweak any of the details. Once you’re happy with the video, you can download a high-resolution version to add to your website, YouTube or wherever you want to use it.

Give these a try and let me know how they work out for you!

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