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It’s What You Do AFTER Martin Luther King’s Birthday That Counts


We expect parades, concerts, TV specials and community events on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service.

When I was still teaching, my students looked forward to this and any holiday as time off. But if we want to truly honor King, his birthday should be a day on, not off.

It’s a time for us to show up, not on just one day, but a time to follow his legacy of service everyday. You can get ideas here. 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 after 32 years of campaigning at local and national levels. It later became the national Martin Luther King Day of Service when former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. His most popular “I Have a Dream” speech galvanized the civil rights movement, but my favorite King speech is the Feb. 4, 1968 sermon,  “The Drum Major Instinct”. In it he said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

If King’s call to serve has a familiar ring, it’s because the same message echoes throughout history.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’ If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else. Chinese Proverb

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy 1961 inaugural address

Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve. Marianne Willliamson

Serving others is easy.

You don’t have to go far nor do you need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

Serving others is accessible.

One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.

Serving others is contagious.

When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice.

Her spontaneous and generous mentoring inspired me to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through a nationwide network, a newsletter, speaking at gift shows. and presenting workshops at gift basket associations.

Serving others is mutually beneficial.

Research has caught up with ancient wisdom.  Scientific studies and positive psychology have toppled some of the myths we have about what makes us happy. What is consistent among the findings is  we increase our own happiness by expressing gratitude and helping others. If you are curious to find out where you stand on gratitude and assess your level of happiness, take one of the many free questionnaires on Authentic Happiness.

Serving others is most powerful when it extends beyond one day.

Many communities and organizations used the National Day of Service as the kickoff day for extended service. Some groups provide healthy snacks to nearby schools. Philadelphia holds a citywide event where citizens pitch in on various projects. Some health organizations hold events calling attention to health and wellness issues in their community.

King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom. I encourage you to fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

Let the way you earn your living also enable you to serve others.  Even if you are working on a job that is just a temporary stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

To serve, as King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

Let the National Martin Luther King Day of Service be a reminder to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out all your interactions with integrity and joy.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind below how you plan to honor King’s legacy throughout the year.

(Revision of a 2016 post on ColorYourLifeHappy.com/blog.)

Hey, Author, No One Has Your Back

 

In his post, The Illusion of Patronage, Seth Godin points out that we can no longer depend just on our writing for success. We must engage with our fans, our reading public, through speaking and business ventures.

This is one of those good news, bad news things.

For energetic writers entering the publishing world, eager to rub shoulders with their fans at book events, share relevant images on Instagram, be interviewed on podcasts, write guest blogposts, create Facebook Live or other videos, and promote their latest book on a t-shirt, this is good news.

For old-school writers still banging out their manuscripts on a Remington Rand, refusing to blog, tweet, link or friend someone, and who think Kindle is what fuels the fireplace, this is bad news.

Long ago Mr. Rogers told us about the part we play in our success in his song “You’ve Got to Do It”

Actually, someone DOES have your back.

It’s YOU, building, serving, nurturing and maintaining your own tribe.

In what ways are you gathering and serving readers? Tell us.

 

Dan Blank Tells Us How to Create a Relationship with Our Readers

If you are an author, do yourself a favor and listen to this Q & A with Jennie Nash, book coach, and Dan Blank, author of newly released Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience.

Before offering this Q and A, Dan asked participants to finish and submit homework that he posted on his website at http://wegrowmedia.com/gateway-lesson/. I strongly recommend that you do this homework too. During this Q & A session Dan shares the insights he gleaned from participants’ homework.

Listen to the webinar here==> https://app.webinarjam.net/replay/19288/1f97f59456/0/104445282

What was said in this interview that resonated with you? Tell us in Speak Your Mind.

Are You Willing to Help a Reporter Out, and Help Yourself Too?

Reporters and other media are always under deadlines, so a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a tremendous help in getting the sources they need for their stories. When YOU are source they need, you help yourself too because you get exposure for your book, business or service. This popular sourcing service connects journalists,bloggers, and other writers with relevant expert sources to meet their demanding deadlines and enable brands, like you, to tell their stories.

There are five reasons you should use HARO.

  1. They distribute more than 50,000 journalist queries from highly respected media outlets each year.
  2. Their pitching process  is straight forward allowing you to find topics related to your expertise, industry or experience, while allowing journalists to spend more time writing and less time sourcing.
  3. It’s free.
  4. You have lots of chances to find a relevant story because they post frequently–three times a day
  5. When your entry is published, you get massive exposure, sometimes to major media.

Five things to know before using HARO.

  1. You must be a registered user at HARO to start receiving the pitches.
  2. You are pitching your expertise in a given topic, not your book. For example, if you homeschooled your children for twelve years, you can certainly talk about homeschooling without regard for your book’s topic. It doesn’t hurt, of course, if your topic and your book are the same.
  3. The journalist or media may be masked so you don’t always know if you’re pitching to a regional, local, or major media, but free exposure is still gold.
  4. The deadlines are tight so you must act fast.
  5. The reporter has the final say on the editing, so they reserve the right to paraphrase, punctuate and abbreviate.

Two examples of authors who got exposure by responding to HARO.

Gisela Hausmann, who writes and speaks about mainly about PR, had written a book about her experiences with building a fire pit, so she easily gravitated to the request for information on this topic.

Here’s what Gisela posted on Facebook today

Hello all,

Remember, how in my book “BOOK MARKETING The Funnel Factor” I present that famous pitch about planting veggies? Of course, there is a reason, it comes up every year.

Well, FOXNews is looking for people who can pitch it – #rightnow. FOXNews is a phenomenal media outlet. I had my fire pit book featured there. Never marketed the book at all and still sold quite many copies just because it was mentioned on FOXNews.

If you can pitch the veggie story do it NOW!
All details below. YOU MUST be a registered user at HARO, the rest is featured below.

If you have troubles phrasing your pitch, follow the templates in my book.

Good Luck!!!

IMPORTANT: As for this comment: Looking for gardening professionals… Don’t be hung up on that, I am not a professional fire pit builder and still made it on FOXNews, You just gotta demonstrate that you know your stuff.

***HERE IS THE HARO LISTING GISELA RESPONDED TO***

37) Summary: 5 Top Tips for Growing Your Own Food Outdoors

Name: Katie Jackson Fox News (Online)
Category: Lifestyle and Fitness

Email: query-6nbe@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: Fox News (Online)

Deadline: 7:00 PM MST - 17 March

Query:

Hello,

I'm working on a story featuring IMPORTANT tips for having a
successful garden. These should be things you can do now, i.e.
to prep the soil for the upcoming summer season.

Looking for insight from gardening professionals! Thanks in
advance, and I'll respond if it looks like I can feature you.

Requirements:

Outdoors only. Food not products tips

HERE IS PUBLISHED STORY FEATURING GISELA’S CONTRIBUTION

I confess that I would have missed this HARO query if not for my eagle-eyed friend Shirley George Frazier.

***HERE IS THE HARO LISTING I RESPONDED TO***

4) Summary: 5 common mistakes people make in their pursuit of happiness

Name: Jeff Moore Everyday Power Blog

Category: General

Email: query-6amp@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: Everyday Power Blog

Deadline: 7:00 PM EST - 17 November

Query:

With over 200,000 monthly views Everyday Power Blog's readers
would love to learn about: 5 common mistakes people make in
their pursuit of happiness. What steps can I take? Check us out
at EverydayPowerBlog.com

Requirements:

For consideration please send your response to the query, a
short bio, head shot and social media links to
everydaypowerblog@gmail.com

After I responded to this query, I got a request to expand my contribution to a 600-word article. Like Gisela, I have written a book on the topic, but that is not always the case with HARO.

HERE IS MY PUBLISHED ARTICLE
 7 Surefire Ways to Set Yourself Up for Happiness.

Now, how about you? Are you willing to help a reporter out, and yourself too? Have you already responded to a HARO query? What was your experience? Share it in Speak Your Mind.

Get Your Book Noticed by Piggybacking on Holidays, Observances, and News

Girl riding piggyback on her borther's shoulders

 

You’re not one of those people who grumbles about stores rolling out their displays many weeks before a holiday or observance, are you?

I hope not!

You can’t afford to think like the average consumer.

If you have a book for sale, you are a business person. Take a lesson from the retailers and get your book noticed early and often.

This is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. The popular holidays and observances already have high visibility because of pervasive ads and their many followers, devotees, Facebook fans and so on. In addition, you can get loads of ideas from the groups and websites that already promote them.

It’s no wonder that just before the Super Sunday businesses offer a “Big Game Special” or a gift basket retailer names a design “Extreme Tailgate Super Sunday Party”

Tip: If you decide to tie in to that big game on Super Sunday, however, don’t use the actual words “Super Bowl” in your promotion. Not only do you want to keep the focus on your brand, but you want avoid getting sacked by the NFL.

  1. The media is always looking for stories, especially that tie in to the news. This is where you can use newsjacking,  the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed. a term coined by David Meerman Scott,

 

In July 2011 when Los Angeleans learned that a 10-mile stretch of the busy 405 freeway would be shut down for 53 hours, they dubbed the expected traffic delay Carmageddon. Some businesses announced they’d be closed. Others got creative. Jet Blue Air, for example, launched an “Over-the-405” promotion offering special nonstop flights between nearby cities Long Beach and Burbank priced at just $4 each way, taxes and fees included.

Just as big events and news tie-ins can help you get media attention, pairing your business with month, week and special day observances can help uncover hidden profits.

When you find a way to share your knowledge, expertise, and skills to help your readers, subscribers, social media contacts and customers, you enrich your value and uncover potential profits you may otherwise have missed otherwise. These tie-ins are also great content for compelling press releases.

Here are a few ideas to get you rolling.

  • Author Lynette Smith used World Gratitude Day, September 21st to urge her subscribers and readers to express their appreciation to another person in tangible, written form. She directed followers to her site, GoodWaysToWrite.com , for the best tools available.
  • In preparation for Family Reunion Month in July, a marriage and family therapist could offer a workshop on mending fences or an event planner could offer tips on creating a successful reunion.
  • Life coaches, self-help authors and spa owners could suggest ways customers can practice mindfulness during Spiritual Wellness Month in March or host meditation and weekend retreats.
  • National Financial Literacy Month in April is a great time for financial planners, accountants, schools and financial institutions to offer workshops, checklists, and planning tools.
  • You can even create an anti-holiday tie-in or call attention to the dark side of popular days such as when I remind my subscribers in February that Love Shouldn’t Hurt on Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day.

Discover these holidays and observances

There are many sources listing these observances, some even quirky or a day in history. Here are a few sources to get you started.

http://www.celebratetoday.com/callinks.html
http://nationaldaycalendar.com/
http://www.holidayinsights.com/
http://www.brownielocks.com

 

Until the early 80’s in the USA only the President and Congress had the right to declare a day a holiday. But it was decided that Congress was spending too much time in approving and denying holidays, so the practice was abandoned. Now anyone can declare and publicize a holiday, recognition or awareness day. You are free to publicize and celebrate it.

How about creating your own celebration day. There is even an official day set aside for you to do just that. Chase’s Calendar of Events has listed March 26th as Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Chase’s Calendar of Events is the authoritative guide to special occurrences, holidays, anniversaries, celebrity birthdates, religious observances, sporting events, and more from around the world. It was created in 1957 by two brothers, William D. Chase and Harrison V. Chase, to provide a comprehensive reference to calendar dates and observances. If you want your celebration listed in their directory, submit the required information. Get the details here

Even if you can’t get your day listed in Chase’s Calendar, you can register it http://nationaldaycalendar.com/register-a-national-days

You don’t have to get permission or wait to be listed in either of these directories before creating your day.

 

Promote your day

Creating your day is just the start, however. You must get others involved, promote your day, and create buzz. You can garner publicity by creatively and assertively tying the day to your book, business or service like these companies did:

Go ahead and get busy piggybacking on holidays, observances, and newly created events or your own day. Just don’t forget to send out your press releases and announce it on social media.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind which of these you’ve used to promote your book.