Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Local Side of the World Wide Web

By Gail Z. Martin

So much as been made of the opportunities opened up by the Internet for companies to deal globally (or at least, outside their local market) that many companies don’t realize that the Web has a local side as well.

Your neighbors and customers, as well as prospects in your geographic area, go online as part of their everyday routines. They read online newspapers and magazines, search for information with Google, shop from online retail and wholesale stores, and download books, music and software. If your business isn’t part of the range of information they see when they go online, you’re missing out on sales.

Some business owners feel that by having a Web site they’ve done what’s necessary to attract their online neighbors. But most Web sites are fairly static. Few businesses update their Web sites with the frequency with which social media sites, online newspapers and magazines or blogs add new information. Internet search engines favor recency and relevancy. That means that information bubbles to the top of search results when it is very closely related to the search term (thanks to keywords) and recently posted. The twin factors of recency and relevancy often work against Web sites because most sites don’t change frequently enough.

Here’s where online PR and marketing can play a huge role in assuring that your business gets it share of attention from local customers.

Online PR about the local activities your company sponsors can help your business connect better with local customers. Does your company host special events such as educational seminars, workshops, or grand openings? Do you participate in community programs, such as sponsoring Little League or holding a charity food drive? Do you offer daily or weekly specials or have live entertainment? If so, these are all very locally-focused reasons to post online PR.

Many companies send press releases to their local offline newspaper or to local paper magazines. True, some of these publications also have online related sites and some of those local press releases may find their way onto the Internet. But many companies forget to target their news to online-only local publications, which means they are missing out in two ways: they miss readers of the online publication and they fail to derive benefit from the search engine hits on their name/topic.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing


By Gail Z. Martin

Many people resist integrating online PR and marketing into their promotional mix because they see themselves as “local” businesses. Yet online PR and marketing can be intensely local, depending on how the strategy is focused.

True, your company may not be interested in wooing customers that are thousands of miles away, or perhaps you’re unable to provide your service or product long-distance due to licensing restrictions or the tangible nature of what you’re selling. But don’t forget—the people in your local area go online every day to get information, and when your business is absent, you’ve taken yourself out of their decision-making process.

Creating a local-intensive online PR and marketing presence requires focus. It also requires understanding how to use online PR and marketing tools to reach a geographically defined audience. In addition, it requires that your content and online activities all underscore the local nature of your business in a way that converts the people in your geographic target area into customers.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)


Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing

What I Learned From Christmas Specials

By Gail Z. Martin

OK, I’m a total sucker for Christmas TV specials, especially the ones I grew up with as a kid.  You know—Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  All the Rankin-Bass specials with the stop-motion animation.  Once the tree is up, I want to curl up in my jammies with a bowl of popcorn and watch through all of the DVDs (and VHS) copies, preferably with my husband, kids and dog close by.  It’s just part of the holidays to me.

It occurred to me that I’ve been watching some of these specials for 40-some years (amazing that they look so good on TV screens much larger than the show’s producers ever expected).  So I guess it’s only logical that they’ve made an impression on me.  As we go through this holiday season, here are some things I’ve learned from holiday specials.

  • Even a miracle needs a hand.  (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  • Don’t judge a reindeer by his nose (Rudolph)
  • You can be whatever you want to be—even if you’re an elf who wants to be a dentist (Rudolph)
  • Don’t overlook the needs of others in your rush for the perfect holiday (Berenstain Bears)
  • We all need a little Christmas, right this very moment (Muppet Christmas)
  • Bumbles bounce (and so can you)  (Rudolph)
  • Learn to love your noisy neighbors (Grinch)
  • See with your heart, not just your head (Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  • Buy presents early to avoid mayhem (Jingle All the Way)
  • Count roll before leaving on vacation (Home Alone 1, 2, 3)
  • Don’t plug in too many Christmas lights (Christmas Vacation)
  • Keep the cat away from the Christmas tree (Christmas Vacation)
  • People matter more than profit (A Christmas Carol)

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be merry and bright. And if you’re interested in staying informed about special educational needs and disabilities, be sure to check out this special educational needs and disabilites blog.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Gratitude-Giving

Beating Stress, Fatigue & Overwhelm, Now and Into the New Year

By Jana Beeman, CHHP, CHT, AADP

While many office workers get a bit of a break over the holidays (not all, of course, as there is year-end to take care of), those of us with businesses of our own are very busy, juggling the holiday festivities and obligations with closing our year end, evaluating our year, and preparing for the next year. Being in business for yourself has lots of benefits but it also can mean a lot of additional stresses.

So how do we keep our cool over the holidays, while giving our families and our businesses the attention they deserve?

First, take a DEEP BREATH. Center for a moment. Make a list of what you have to get done, when it needs to be done by, and what things can be delegated or wait until January. Remember most of our stress is self-imposed, and we do have the ability to put some things off a week or so. Think about if hiring a virtual assistant for a couple of weeks would help you get everything done with less stress if you’re a solopreneur.

Learn to use the power of the word NO. Ya, I know – we all like to be able to do everything, but really take a step back, think about what you have on your plate, and make a realistic outline of what you can and cannot commit to. If you tell people you simply don’t have the capacity to add another event, obligation, etc. to your schedule until after the first week of January, most will understand. If it’s a personal request, try sending a gift or adding value to what you CAN do later, just to make sure there are no hurt feelings.

Plan your holidays INCLUDING time to relax and do spontaneous things – you NEED that, and taking that time will make the rest of your time much more productive.

Focus on your business and personal goals. Anything that doesn’t lead toward those goals is something to either consider for your scheduled free time or might be worth passing on.

Each morning, take 10 minutes to draft out a to-do list, and put them in order of importance. Look at the bottom 1/3 of the list and see if there is anything there which can either be eliminated or delegated. We all think we have to do things that don’t do anything for our business.

Focus on what you need to work on, giving it 100% of your attention until it’s done. No checking email, answering phones, or anything else until that first item is checked off the list. Multitasking is not productive. Limit checking email to twice a day.

Take frequent breaks to breathe, refocus, and see if you need to shift direction at all. Breathing deeply into the body relaxes both body and mind, allowing us to focus better with less stress.

Lay off the caffeine and sugar. They create a ‘fight or flight’ response in the body, triggering the release of adrenaline and cortisone, creating physical stress in the body. By limiting the caffeine and sugar, you’ll feel better, be more grounded and have much better concentration, so you can get more done with your day.

Improve your quality of sleep to feel more rested and relaxed, again, improving productivity. Don’t eat or drink anything but a little water after 6pm, sleep in a completely dark room or wear an eye cover, don’t work where you sleep, keep the room cool enough so you can snuggle into your blankets. A little melatonin at night can really help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep better. Melatonin is something your body naturally produces that aids with sleep, but many of us don’t produce enough, so taking a good quality supplement of between 2 – 5 mg 30 minutes before bed can be really helpful.

When situations stress you out:

  • Breathe…. It’s not the end of the world, no matter what is going on
  • Focus on what you CAN control – you can always control yourself. You can control your feelings and reactions, and getting upset doesn’t help anyone
  • Look forward to the desired outcome and know the current irritant will pass
  • Walk in the other guy’s shoes. I know – we’ve all heard this, but how many of us stop to think that the woman who just stole the great bargain we were about to snag right out from under our nose might have only been able to afford to give that one thing at THAT price? Or maybe it’s for her mother in the hospital? Or maybe she’s got a serious medical condition? Maybe that idiot driver who cut you off just found out his family is in town for a surprise visit, or he just got laid off at work, or maybe he’s just not having a great day. Be compassionate, and on those days when you find yourself swooping that sale item or driving like a doofus, when you realize you weren’t your best self, maybe others will forgive you too. Life is too short to be pissy, if you’ll pardon my French.

I’d also recommend that when you have one of those days when you can’t get your mind off the holidays, all the things you have to do, shopping you need to get done… just make a list, and if you can do some of the shopping or contacting online, take an hour, and get it off your mind. Then schedule time to handle the rest.

At the end of each day, clean your mental slate, knowing you’ve done your best, and tomorrow is another day. Remember we are all human, and we’ll always want to do more than we realistically can, so be gentle with yourself and people you work with, as well as your family.

No matter what your religious beliefs or personal philosophy, be respectful of what others believe, and give yourself permission to treat this time of year as a time to live in grace and compassion. That opens the door for all kinds of cool things to happen J

If you could use some support, visit and sign up for my free special report on 10 Tips to Feel Incredible Now, or, for those of you who suffer from migraines, go to my migraine page at and download a whole big kit of goodies to help you get through the holidays with less pain, as my gift to you.

Jana Beeman is a Board Certified Health, Nutrition and Fitness Counselor, certified in Hypnosis, Yoga and Modified Yoga, meditation, EFT and stress relief trainer and a specialist in chronic migraine, food allergies and inflammation, and beating stress and fatigue. AADP Certified. She is a national speaker and telesummits host and is regularly featured on radio programs such as Spirit Radio, Women’s Radio and SQR-fm as well as her own podcasts, newsletters and blog.

Free 30-minute “Find Your Vibrant Life” consults are available on a limited basis. Call (360) 263-5800 or email

Facebook: Balanced Life Today Twitter: BalancedLifeTdy LinkedIn: Jana Beeman Read more of her articles her experts page on at Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety including all contact information. All rights reserved. November 2011.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Health care decisions should be made in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Jana Beeman unless otherwise noted. The information provided is for entertainment purposes only and Jana Beeman will not diagnose, treat or cure in any manner whatsoever any disease, condition or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.

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Filed under Balance, Guest Blogger

Avoiding Burn-Out

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

We’ve all all had those days when there’s a small voice in the back of our heads that says, “Here’s a quarter, please go call someone who cares.” At that moment you get it that unconditional positive regard doesn’t live in your chair anymore. Here’s some tips to help recover your energy, your love of your work, and your own unconditional positive regard – for yourself.

Tip #1: Give your attention to your own physical well-being. Stretch between clients, jog in place. Try the Cat Response. You know, when the cat gets up from her chair where she’s been for a while, the first thing she does is yawn, stretch, not in any particular way, although there is a yoga stretch is called cat stretch and downward dog. You sit still for 6-8 hours a day, discover ways to move that just feels good.

Tip #2: Give your attention to your own emotional well-being. You’ve spent your day listening. A few minutes at the end of your day to practice mindfulness can be very powerful. Breathing to quiet your mind and your internal emotional cocktail. Take the names of each person you saw today, or any other person that comes to mind. In your imagination, see yourself standing near a brook. Write the name of that person on a leaf, if you have a prayer practice, invite the Divine to bless that particular person/problem, and with that blessing, release the leaf onto the water, and watch it float downstream. Continue with each person until all that concerns you has been released, just for now.

Tip #3: Give your attention to your own mental well-being. Many of us have a job that engages our mental acuity constantly. The tip here is to find things that suit you that either quiet that mental chatter, like a mindfullness, or puts it into a hypnotic state, like TV, computer games. Some folks also find release in hobby type experiences that bring them into flow, that state where time stops and the moment consumes your attention. I’ve inserted a 15-20 minutes island in my day when I first get home, before preparing my dinner when I just sit with a glass of  wonderful cup of tea and watch the clouds go by – my own puppy-on-the-couch moment when I intentionally accomplish nothing, think about nothing, solve nothing.

Tip #4: Give your attention to your own spiritual well-being.  If you have a religious or spiritual practice, make sure that daily (2-5 minutes, even as you fall asleep) you turn your attention toward that focus.  If you don’t have any particular practice, use a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day to do something that brings your focus outside of your inner world – enjoy a moment in nature, connect with a pet, close your eyes and list the parts of your day you are particularly grateful for, enjoy music.  Even just focusing on your breath can quiet the monkey mind and give you some peace.

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Filed under Balance, Inner Coach, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy

Collaboration and Gratitude

By Gail Z. Martin

When you’re adding to your gratitude journal, don’t forget to include all those with whom you collaborate.  Think about collaboration in the broadest sense.  Who enables you to carry on your life as you know it?  (In other words, if your life and business were a book, who would be in the acknowledgements?)

Here are some ideas:

  • Partners, joint-venture and otherwise
  • Vendors, suppliers, and your landlord
  • Family, friends, cheerleaders of all sorts
  • Sales, marketing, web development, technical and repair professionals
  • Employees and contractors
  • The accounting and administrative folks who help you stay on top of things
  • Your medical providers who keep you running on all cylinders
  • Your gym buddies, walking group, fitness trainer, yoga instructor or the nice lady behind the counter at the Y
  • The people who bring you what you enjoy in your free time—authors, bloggers, reporters, YouTube video creators, social media friends and others who touch your life every day.
  • Supporters of all kinds: your daycare provider, dog walker, mail carrier, FedEx delivery person, the barista who makes your morning espresso with a smile, the dry cleaner who knows how you like your cuffs pressed, the parking lot attendant who keeps an eye on your car, and the co-worker in the next office, desk or cubicle who covers for you when you have to miss work

All of these people, in large and small ways, hold together the fabric of your life.  If you had to move to another city, or if something happened to any of them, you would feel a loss and see a hole in your “normal” day.

So why not take a moment to say “thank you” for their help, friendship, support, cheery wave, encouragement and good work?  It’ll make you feel good, make them feel great, and help take the edge off the holiday season rush.  Even better—it’s a priceless gift that costs nothing, requires no wrapping or shipping and has no environmental impact.  Say “thank you” today and see what happens!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin