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Mel Hopkins

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Everything posted by Mel Hopkins

  1. It is only difficult because of lack of experience in the media relations arena... The on-air thing came as a result of my marketing gig...I was pitching stories to news before I started reporting it. The news director who hired me noticed I had an eye/ear for news. One gig led to another because I'm writer. So that's my only edge. No influencers; I know what stories to pitch and I know what won't work. Still I pitch stories that editors consider and then kill. I once pitched a story to Black Enterprise about this dude who put together a deal; a big deal for vodafone. It was a great story all the parts where in place and vodafone folks were ok with the publicity but the american contingent ,dude's boss, wouldn't let him take the credit publicly even though it was his deal... Story was dead on arrival. I pitched a story to essence about vasectomies and black men - I had the expert doctors lined up to go on record and everything. I even had young men willing to talk about the snip -the editor was game at first but then she quickly lost interest... The truth of vasectomies I think would be discouraging to her readers but it had a legs... So see these people aren't my friends - they have a job to do and I know how to help them get their job done. When the BE editor picked up my story it was 2006 - no one was doing social selling... it was new and different. But I was actually pitching a story about my client a techie author (it don't get no boring than that lol ) when the editor noticed my HTML email signature promoting my book. It was no big deal to me. I was just getting the word out about my book ...but he liked it did a full page feature on me and my book!!!- and my client got a 1/4 page on a chipset he co-created . Still good though because I'd already placed my client in a full page-picture spread in Ebony. Here's how I pitched him - I told the editor do you know that commercial running about "fewer drop calls in your network" Well Meet my friend, blah blah the black scientist, wireless LAN expert who holds 25 patents to make sure you stay connected.. It was true and verifiable but a scientist doesn't know that's a news story- but a media person does. If I were to look at your stories I'd probably could tell you in a minute who to pitch to and how. Plus there has to be a hook. no one cares if you made a sneaker - no cares that you write articles but there is something about that folks will care about. That's what I do I find that thing that people will want to read. When you pitch a story it has to have two of the three elements - New, Novel or a Change component or it has to be straight out effing shocking.
  2. I did it... and Black Enterprise did a story on me. (Click the black enterprise link) and I was about as unknown as anyone can be when I self-published my first novel . What's worse is my novel dealt with the occult! Do you know how hard it is to sell the occult to a bunch a church going women LOL! I networked with direct marketer who put me on stage; I got social (Xanga, MySpace, Facebook, blogtalkradio, ), Print (Ebony, Black Enterprise, Chicago citizen, ) broadcast (podcasts and radio) and live media exposure..and this was 2006 mind you. My book was even adopted by 2 chicago book clubs. My nielsen bookscan rank was pretty decent in the first 6-months to a year after publishing - and I didn't even actively sell. Soft selling came through my "relationships" and public "appearances". Is it time consuming? Heck yeah! But what else you have to do but sell your product you're an entrepreneur! but to answer your question YOU PREPARE A COMMUNICATION PLAN and follow it! Before I took my 8 year hiatus I handled the media program for others...mostly for creatives and high tech folks though. One of my clients' work is now featured in the Library of Congress. Yep he's immortalized I mentioned for another client/partner , together we built a facebook fan page to 100,000 - and we even had Malcolm Jamar Warner chimed in on our page... But here's the key; you have to know your product and once you do you have to use that information in communication full-court press. One cannot solely rely on one media channel. This is why I said social media is NOT a strategy - it is a tactic in a communication plan. As for twitter accounts, again remember social media has social in it - social = relationship... J.K. recently went to twitter to defend casting a black woman has hermione . She has about 3,000 tweets now. I follow a lot of writers on my twitter account - and some prominent writers (screenwriters, songwriters, politicians) follow me - what I've learned about established writers, such as Hand of God's creator Ben Watkins @_benipedia_ , is they connect for relationships. Ben gets that more of us that reviewed his show on Amazon the better his chances at a second.
  3. Thank you for sharing this ... Social Media Campaign is a misnomer. Especially, since Social Media 'marketing' is only one tactic in an overall communication plan. And make no mistake social media is in the communication section of a marketing plan Sadly, many new creative producers (musicians, authors, writers, etc) don't know how to market their product and that makes /her/him an easy mark. Marketing is not PR and PR is not Social Media... and none are SALES! As for authors not selling their books on social media - that's correct. Social media is a communication channel where the author "sells" her expertise. She doesn't say "buy my book." any more than United tweets "buy my tickets" or Chase tweets "deposit your money" or Beyonce post on instagram anything but lifestyle and fashion. Remember her infamous "the link is in the bio" on Instagram? The "BeyHive" is real. But I digress. Social media is for building relationships. Using Social media, an authors illustrates how her book can solve a problem, take a reader on an adventure, teach a lesson, etc. Social media is for helping those in your market achieve their goal. One can do this with any book...fiction or nonfiction - every book has something to teach. My first novel "Sleeping with a D-Man", illustrates how a young woman can survive the ensuing apocalypse after conjuring up hell on earth just by dating a wanted man. The whole time I was on Xanga, Myspace and a little on Facebook all I talked about were "relationships". I even co-hosted a popular blogtalk radio show "relationship playbook" and grew our page to more than 100,000 followers. I wasn't really a relationship expert - I helped people to see the unseen in their relationships and that's how I ended up soft-selling my novel. A good PR consultant would have advised this author of that one key tactic to reach her market and gain followers...help someone realize their dream and they will sell your product by their word of mouth. That is what Social Media is Word of Mouth Marketing and it is taboo to talk about yourself - you let others do it for you. If a PR person is advising her client to "sell" anything on social media then her client isn't going to experience much success.
  4. Welp...a bbc reporter also noticed what I did about storytelling on a digital platform -His story "Is self-publishing coming of age in the digital world?" appeared today (note to self : more folks read AALBC.com forum than we know dude took my angle and ran with it) He featured white authors who also began their stories on blogs that became feature flicks... Digital platforms are perfect for succinct storytelling and the immediate feedback allows the writer to know if they are reaching the masses. Which of course, reaching the masses should be the goal of every writer!
  5. @Troy it is in my original post: You can find it on the sentence - "the viral twitter story is here" click on the "here".
  6. I got the kindle version of "African Unconscious" and as I'm reading it - I'm beginning to realize the "threatened return of the repressed" isn't limited to whites many direct descendants of Africa struggle with their own origin... I hear it our "us versus them" conversations. it is exhibited in "I'm not like those kind of blacks" type mentality. I hadn't thought of how some of us have our own internal struggle with being black...but once you hear/see it is hard not recognize it in your own.
  7. I heard 50 Shades of Grey also started as a blog. Of course, sex sells there is no disputing that but this writer's success isn't about erotica or sex. This is a testament to "Zola"'s storytelling and her ability to use the platform to captivate an audience in 148 tweets . She spun a tale filled with drama, suspense and brought attention to a social ill.
  8. Some writers work all their life to produce the great american novel and others, such as Aziah "Zola" King (Wells), tells her story in 148 tweets and now may get a movie deal. According to a news report in The Guardian, James Franco is reported to have signed on to direct a "potentially controversial true-life drama based on a wild and unsavoury stripper road trip to Florida that went viral on Twitter." The viral twitter story is here but the one Franco is said to direct is based on the Rollingstone interview with Aziah "Zola" Wells. It is a fantastical tale about 4 on a road trip, "Zola" and Jessica who work at hooters, work as part-time strippers and part-time sex workers, Jessica's violent Nigerian pimp and her boyfriend who allegedly attempts suicide. The tale deals with sex trafficking, prostitution, attempted suicide and murder. "Zola" is now 6 months pregnant with her first child and goes by the name Mrs. King . When interviewed she appeared more like a struggling writer than "server-turned-stripper-sex-worker". She said the first time she tweeted her "true" story no one paid attention. She said she removed it spiced it up and then posted again... Her "confession" reminds me of that line in "Finding Forrester"..."No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head".. Seems like Zola's final edit was good enough to get her the attention she sought even that of Director Ava DuVernay
  9. Good looking out! I will do the same so please share. About.me/Mel_Hopkins Twitter : @Mel_Hopkins_ Twitter: @The_Leadstory Google+ = +NickyJett Youtube: NickyJett I deleted my facebook account. And thank you for heads up on @Troy new video! #Shared
  10. I didn't know about this one. It will probably be another year before information comes on this shooting. I was referring to #BlackLivesMatter marching on Magnificent Mile before Christmas.
  11. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Dr. Edward Bruce Bynum so I'll write this as if I'm writing for anyone who doesn't know of him. Dr. Bynum is clinical psychologist at the University of Massachusetts. He says we, as a species, engage in a battle with our "primitive impulses". Psychologists/psychiatrists call this battle the threatened "return of the repressed". I've dismissed this term simply because I thought they were referring to ape-like behavior. It wasn't until the other day, I heard Dr. Bynum (for the first time) make the reference and spell it out in his two-hour lecture "African Genesis" . He explains a lot of the subject matter from his book "African Unconscious" . In short, Dr. Bynum says white culture has a difficult time reconciling African civilization was the first civilization to discover everything from writing to spirituality. He says it was so difficult for Europeans to attribute the discovery of mathematics, astronomy, writing, measurement et al; they, through academics, began to identify the first civilization as white people from Egypt or they attributed the discoveries to Greeks and Romans. Of course today we know that would be biologically impossible for white skin to exist in Africa but the idea still persist. He also clarifies Egypt was occupied by Africans from the west who had migrated there due to a change in landscape in the sub-Saharan region. I learned about this migration through the National Geographic Genographic project - which clearly outlines the journey out of Africa ... Anyway, here's an excerpt from his book "African Unconscious" "Recall that prior to 25,000 to 30,000 years ago all Homo Sapiens were Black and that racial diversification as we think of it today, had not yet begun. The present day implication of this, of course, is that beneath the wealth of contents in our shared or multicultural unconscious the primordial essence and genetic roots of our African dynamism dwells. (Carl Gustav) Jung felt this deeper racial memory as his bedrock memory and it unfolded within him a great peace and sense of unity between all peoples of this planet. Many people have had similar experiences and insights. This repression of the primordial African Unconscious is an act of represssion not only in Europe but also Eurocentric science. It might be thought of as the collective "threatened return of the repressed."
  12. Maybe Kshama Sawant does now..but I was in Seattle when I first heard of her and during her campaign and she identified as an Occupy activist. In the link, Democracy Now which covers Occupy extensively she speaks directly about the Occupy movement as well. Another part of her platform and her work is with protecting those in the transsexuals. She's not the only #Occupy activists that has run for office either. Some of us may lose interest but I find a lot of these folks in the movement -are dedicated. If you have time, keep an eye out for them and you'll see what I mean.
  13. Oh this isn't just a referral service - if I were to hire you; I pay Amazon for your service package. Amazon pays you. No haggling. No schedule conflicts.
  14. Ok Alfred Edmonds, Jr is not incompetent but he was getting paid. and he has a website ...too! He ain't slick!
  15. I'm right there with you. I believe Policing definitely has its role. Law Enforcement dances that fine line with criminals; it's the nature of the beast. But during the Dinkins/Giulani years there was no racial profiling. Police had their hands full with Jamaican/Colombian drug trafficking cartel. Law Enforcement targeted the correct individuals back then. We lost a lot of police officers during that time because they went up against armed individuals - my dad included (Koch years). Prior to 9-11, Law Enforcement was better in the neighborhoods because Department of Justice poured a lot of money into community policing... After 9/11- all the money allocated to community policing was moved to the Patriot Act activities and Department of Homeland Security. Shortly thereafter militarize policing began. #Blacklivesmatter is demanding Law Enforcement return to the pre-9/11 community policing protocol. Today, with local Law Enforcement having to "fund" itself. They just park in poor neighborhoods and harass poor black people. Here in Georgia we call it the Law Enforcement Tax - but in the inner cities, it is taxing, harassment and finally displacement in an effort to gentrify the neighborhood. Yes, some neighborhoods are high crime/gang/drug trafficking neighborhoods but when was the last time a police shot a known gang-banger? There's all type of organized crime in Chicago - but police don't even mess with Mexican cartels. It is well known and even the judge my daughter clerked for here told her about the gang drug activity in Illinois. There's Chinese drug cartel operating in San Fran/Oakland - but who do police target? I haven't heard of a chinese "Oscar Grant" and I probably won't. #BlackLivesMatter - may be a small voice but they have a lot of followers who amass in every city when called upon. See what they did at Christmas time in the major cities. I betcha the latest rogue police officer in Chicago was indicted. These young people are tap dancing on a lot of #Whiteestablishment nerves. I applaud them. Reminds me of us when marched on the Board of Education to "save of sports." Betcha we didn't get any sports budget cuts that year ! LOL! As for #Occupy - did you hear about the $15 minimum wage increase in Seattle? Do you know how it happened? An OccupyWallStreeter made it all the way to city council and fought for it.... Movements don't fade away, its members run for government offices and some even get elected. ;-)
  16. Have you checked out Amazon Professional Services? Heh heh heh...;) Actually if you chose for your services to be available Amazon has a deal for you right here...
  17. Social media doesn't build brands and never has! An effective communication program builds a brand. A good communication plan includes using many channels to send a message not just one to achieve the goal. Further, social media websites are part of what communication practitioners, such as me, call New Media. New Media is one channel you use to communicate to and with your audience. There are as many websites in this media channel as there are people. Therefore, to use one website in the channel to reach your market gives you the same odds as playing and winning the powerball jackpot. Dude on the panel that shut you down @Troy was either on payroll or he's incompetent. Even if a billion people visit one website, such as Facebook; the first rule of Marketing 101 indicates everyone in that billion is NOT in your market. Save for impulse buying of teeshirts on facebook through page set up like storefronts (See: Threadless Tees) most people come to facebook to be seen. [Update: I just went to Threadless Tees facebook page and the store is gone!] McDonald serves a billion customers - and they use every channel available to reach them including premium promotional imprint channel. HEADS UP for our resident children book authors/illustrators Sellers are always looking for short cuts and there's always a shill willing to sell it to them. While It is true people buy from people they know; producers have to remember SOCIAL media is for developing and maintaining relationships. In fact, @CDBurns said as much in another thread. He offered access to him here on AALBC. Social = relationships! bots not included. As for marketing and sales, a competent marketing strategist knows it's better to first determine who is in the market for her product. She then determines how best to reach them (communication) and then she employs her media strategy (communication plan) to take her sales message to them. Note: While a producer may have a brand in mind for his/her product, it is the CONSUMERS , in the market, who define the brand for that product. For example, United executives want to brand themselves "flyer friendly" but until recently the market said the airline was anything but friendly. ~ Signed a longtime Marketing/Communication strategist who began her career marketing books for BIg 8 publishing houses (now Big 5)who was fortunate enough to work in Broadcast news both in front of the television camera and behind the mic in Radio.
  18. UiUC=University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign . We lived in Naperville while my daughter was in attendance. I'm all too familiar with that 3 -hour drive -(one way). Btw, I'm familiar with UIC too! My oldest daughter worked in the engineering school there while she was in undergrad. U of I degree is definitely a great value. My daughter was awarded her degree (psychology/statistics) and found enployment at the salary she wanted within 1-month of beginning her job search.
  19. I agree. I remember when I was a cigarette smoker, I thought, this is "suicide by cigarettes"... Then when I don't eat properly I think "suicide by sweets". Yet, slow-suicide isn't quantifiable. African-American Suicide by (fill in the blank) is prevalent in our community. If we add "suicide-by- (blank) atop the current suicide-rates for all groups ... white males still come out on top. I know it is a reach but I find Dr. Bynum's theory intriguing. Now I just have figure out how, what he calls, the "threatened "return of the repressed" affects African-Americans. Surely, we don't fear our own origin.
  20. This line... it really tickled me! This is a great story - one that you'd see play out in an irreverent type tv comedy. Grace & Frankie (Netflix) comes to mind with Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin... Btw, My middle daughter graduated from UIUC in 2015 ... She says she loved every moment!
  21. ... OMG!!! that last line! Oh No you didn't!!! Life's absurd twist and turns...
  22. Here's something you don't hear a lot of about. While I was working on a piece about the absurdity of life, I found out middle aged white males have the highest suicide rate of all groups here in the U.S. In fact out of the more than 42,000 suicides in 2013, 7 out of 10 were committed by white males. Next highest were American Indians/Alaska Natives who ranked up there at 11.7% out of every 100,000. Guess who is near last on this list with the fewest suicides per 100,000? You guessed it, at 5.4% per 100,000 suicides for African-Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage is less for African-American women. The report indicates women overall make more suicide attempts but rarely succeed. Sadly, however suicides are increasing among African-American children according to SAMHSA 's statistics from JAMA Pediatrics. I have no clue, and none was offered as to why so many white men here in the U.S. end their own life. I don't take the findings lightly either. I was curious. Initially, when I went looking for the statistics I thought African-Americans would have the highest suicide rate since many of us report experiencing high rates of stress. The CDC statistics, however, doesn't support my theory. If I had to guess why the rate was so high for white males here in America; My guess would be influenced by Edward Bruce Bynum, Ph.D. (Dark Light Consciousness: Melanin, Serpent Power, and the Luminous Matrix of Reality). He says the deepest level of the mind in modern humans is an African structure or an African Template. Dr. Bynum suggest in his lecture "African Genesis" "Most nations, most cultures fear the darkness and part of that fear is of one's own origin - 'The Threatened return of the repressed'." African-Americans already know where they come from. Maybe they don't have the location of the village but they have a clue they come from the African continent. Maybe it's hard for other cultures to reconcile they also originate from the Motherland. And that could be their undoing. I don't know of course but I'm fascinated by the theory. Self-Destruction comes in many forms.
  23. Yes I'm getting the sense that flowery is the new print journalism. Old school broadcast journalist here - and even with 15, 30 sec or 1.15 sec video at the most, it meant I had to get to the point with FACTS! And you nailed it - his description of Clarence Reynolds made me throw up in my mouth a little. @Troy ...I thought I deleted that part of my comment! I was going to write about the mistaken identity (but didn't, right?) because it was turning into long rant and reflection of my good ole days at Penguin USA.. I was actually offended that the author included how Chris Jackson is often mistaken for one of his writers. It made me really want to punch the author in the face for that one... It was offhanded "Stacey-who"; "all-you-black-people-look-a-like" remark. In fact, most of those New York Times reporters find a way to marginalize black people. They too are on my boycott list (as far as "paying") I will occasionally read an article - if it looks like the reporter has some sense.
  24. I read that article too, shared it on my google page then quickly deleted it... I wondered too if it can be movement when Chris Jackson is a party of one pushing one "voice" from a group of male authors. It was Chimamanda Adichie who warned of us of The Danger of a Single Story in her Ted Talk. I get the sense with the authors mentioned this movement might be one of the monoliths she warns of. I could be wrong but I read as much of the article as I could to find his platform. I got tired of the purple prose describing black people much like one would if they were just visiting "darkest africa" for the first time.
  25. "Good point", said the woman with 3 daughters. For now, however, I draw the line where "art", "religion", "politics", or any of our socio-cultural activity that draws its popularity and energy from harming women. Example nwa. Anyone who sings about offin' hoes and bitches - is obviously doing it in real time. so I won't support them. I don't believe Dre an'em have made one dime off of me. I probably watched "Friday" one too many times because I got tired of being left out of the jokes - but I will not support a group that is too stupid to realize without women their future is nonexistent. Still it is surprising to me how many people cosigned that brand of 'entertainment.' Then again, the labeling mentality is prevalent among those guilty of sloth.
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