Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Tagged tips

How to get free publicity: 10 tips from insiders (+ movie recommendations)

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As someone who’s written hundreds of articles for fancy publications, I’m often asked the best way to land free publicity.

Outside of knowing when you have truly have something that’s noteworthy and knowing which audiences are most likely to find your something relevant, my colleague Josh Steimle recently wrote about the subject for Entrepreneur; specifically how to get great PR in 15 minutes per day.

Josh was kind enough to interview and quote me in the article. This is what I said: “Indirect PR pitches are the best way to increase your chances of a media placement. Rather than talking about yourself, explain a larger trend that might interest the journalist or publication you’re pitching, complete with stats, anecdotes and data.

“Your contribution should be only part of the story. Doing so not only makes the press’s job easier but demonstrates greater objectivity, further increasing your chances of a placement.”

In my experience as someone being pitched, that approach leads to a lot more placements.

Since we’re on the subject, now go watch Ace in the Hole, All The Presidents Men, State of Play, and Spotlight—all good if not remarkable movies on journalism.

Why you should always pay attention to people’s feet

Blake Snow

Blake Snow

“If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join the conversation,” teach the smart people of Quora. “Similarly, if you are in a conversation with a coworker who you think is paying attention to you, and their torso is turned towards you but their feet are facing another direction, they want the conversation to end.”

Wonderful observation. Another one I like: “If you are angry at the person in front of you driving like a grandmother, pretend it is your grandmother. It will significantly reduce your road rage.” As of 6:58 yesterday on I-15 southbound, I can confirm this works.

Speaking of feet: Did I pass that on? Human genetics are incredible

13 food strategies to combat gluttony

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Eating well is hard to do. Here are a 13 lucky food strategies I follow to keep extravagance at bay.

  1. Never order a cheeseburger. I said never. “But, Blake,” you ask, “Don’t you like cheese and beef?” Yes. Both are bursting with flavor. But there’s no sense overdoing it when each are good on their own. “I really wish this delicious burger had cheese on it,” said no one ever. “I really wish this grill cheese had meat on it,” also said no one ever. Pick one and enjoy.
  2. Hold the mayo and sour cream. Speaking of burgers, my wife and I made homemade ones over the weekend. Mine was topped with red onion, lettuce, tomato, Dijon mustard, and ketchup on a Texas toasted bun. It was a taste explosion, even without the mayo. Same goes for the tacos we had tonight. Beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, on a freshly cooked tortilla. No sour cream required. Again, sour cream and mayo are delicious, but there’s no sense in adding them to an already heavily-flavored meal. Continue reading…

Published works: 10 ways to save on tech this year

(CNN) — From Airbnb to GasBuddy to shopkick, lots of apps and websites help consumers save money.

But how do we spend less on technology itself — that digital drug we can’t seem to get enough of? How can we save money on electronic gadgets and services … so that we can buy more gadgets?

Here are 10 ways to stretch your tech budget this year: Continue reading…

3 ways to spot when someone is lying

liarVia SmartBlog:

  • Nonverbal tells. Liars don’t rehearse their gestures, just their words. The cognitive load is already huge, so when they tell their story, they freeze their upper body, look down, lower their voice, and slow their breathing and blink rate. And they will exhibit a recognizable moment of relief when the interview is over. Interrogators will often end an interview prematurely just to look for that shift in posture and relaxation.
  • Verbal tells. People who are overly determined in their denial resort to non-contracted rather than relaxed language. “Did not” rather than “didn’t” They will use distancing language as in “ that woman” rather than someone’s name. They will often pepper their story with inappropriate detail as if to prove to you they are telling the truth. They will look you in the eye too much, as if to appear honest, when in fact most people telling the truth only look you in the eye a comfortable 60 % of the time.
  • Stories told in perfect chronological order. Try to get them to tell their story backwards. They can’t do it. Honest people remember stories in the order of emotional prominence. Liars tend to concoct a time-stamped story but they falter when asked to recount it differently.

Do you tip your “waiter” on take-out orders?

Part two in my Awkward Tip Etiquette series

carryoutI stiffed my take-out waiter for the first time this weekend and got an ugly look for it.

Normally I tip receptionists a buck for boxing my meal and carrying it all the way from the kitchen to the reception desk. (Excruciating work, I know.) But this time I grew a pair and followed my wife’s example: Don’t tip a restaurant worker for putting carry-out in a bag for you.

Again, I’m fine tipping someone that actually “waits on you” in a dining room. Servers don’t get paid a minimum wage. They’re normally hard workers and/or are struggling to make ends meet. So I’m happy to throw a few Washingtons their way for good service.

But I’m done tipping for carry-out, since the person handing me my food doesn’t add any value to my patronage, nor do they serve. I don’t care if it’s the bartender, the host, or some other receptionist. And I’m not going to let awkward attempts to “serve me” a bag or ugly looks deter me. Unless, of course, you can convince me otherwise.

Do you tip for carry-out food? If so, why?

Fewer products means better web design, higher conversion rates

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Want to encourage better conversion rates on your website (be it purchases, blog traffic, whatever) while looking good? Don’t give your readers more than a few options to choose from. By forcing them to look at what you want, you’ll enjoy more targeted traffic.

Apple does it. So does Shoe Guru. Both may be extreme, but their website design ensures them greater control over what they promote, resulting in tighter focus and better sales over the alternative, cluttered sites.

Off-topic: I’d totally buy those shoes if knew what Shoe Guru size I wear.

How cheap employers use unwarranted tipping to their advantage

I got a bone to pick with cheap employers, of which there are several in my resident state of Utah. Here’s what they do.

  1. They don’t pay competitive hourly wages for jobs that don’t require significant waiting on the customer, like a server does in a restaurant.
  2. They then put up signs saying “please tips our workers,” because they’re too cheap to pay a decent hourly wage.
  3. They seemingly lure in prospective employees with the promise of tips.
  4. Everyone ends up confused, from the unsure consumer to the under-paid worker.

My car wash does this. My car gets run through a machine, then an hourly worker rubs it down with a towel in less than three minutes. When done, they look at you while standing next to a ginormous sign asking for tips. Fast food restaurants have begun doing this too.

I have no problem tipping upwards of 20 percent for good service where standard (i.e. restaurants, cabs, bag boys). But when hourly workers start doing it, it feels lame on principle alone. Or maybe I’m just a cheap skate (what’s an extra few bucks to me).

Want Cliff Notes for popular business books? Read Wikipedia summaries.

Don’t have time to read every popular business book out there? Read the book summaries at either Wikipedia or Wiki Summaries. These “Cliff Notes” of sorts work great for buzz terms, new ideas, and heavy meme books like the following:

The list could go on and on. Just Wiki a popular book and have at it. Of course, this isn’t a substitute for that excellent thing called actual reading, but it’s a great way to stay up to date, if not refresh yourself on the key ideas of emerging (or repackaged) concepts in business.

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