One of the questions I get most often from you is “what’s the best pr strategy for a business like mine?” So I reached out to you, all my readers, and asked you what’s worked for you, what hasn’t and what are some pr strategies that you can share with everyone. Below are your great answers. If you have any other tips to add, make sure to use the comments box below and share your pr strategy.Read More»
If your products make a great gift for Valentine’s Day, then it’s time to get your PR materials together and pitch your products to print magazines! I know it seems a bit early, but now is the time when magazines are working on their February issue.
As I mentioned in a previous post, print magazines work on their stories 3 – 6 months in advance, so now is the time when they are working on stories for their February 2013 issue. Although not all magazines have a Valentine’s Day gift guide, most do.
But before you reach out to the press, make sure that you are prepared. You’ll need to have the following in order before you start pitching:
- High Resolution Photos – most magazines will ask you to send them high resolution photos of your products (even when they request a sample of your products). They will most likely ask for your products to be shot on a white background.
- Product Samples – Often editors like to try out the products they recommend, so they will most likely ask you for a sample of your products. Make sure to ship it via FedEx, mark on the outside of the envelope AS REQUESTED, and follow up via email a week after you send the sample to make sure they received it and to see if they need any additional info.
- Mailing supplies – I recommend sending your products via FedEx, but you can also send them via Priority Mail if your budget is tighter.
When you pitch your products to magazine editors, include a short description of your product (highlighting the benefits and features of your products), as well as the price and where they can be purchased (list your website and any national retailers, or local retailers if you are pitching a local magazine). Include your contact information as well.
And make a special note to let the editor know why you think your products are especially great as a Valentine’s Day present.
Do not attach any photos or press releases or any other info to your initial pitch email. Most editors don’t open attachments and if they need photos or additional info they will request it from you via email.
Happy pitching and please share in the comments below why you think your products would make a great gift for Valentine’s Day!
Out of all the social media networks that you might be using to market your business, Twitter is probably the most confusing one (at least that’s what I constantly hear from a lot of entrepreneurs).
What exactly should you do on Twitter and how can you use it to grow your business?
I’ve been using Twitter mostly to connect with influencers and journalists, not necessarily with my clients and potential customers (I use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube for that).
And if you’ve read some of my posts before, you might remember that one of my goals is to get featured/mentioned in Entrepreneur Magazine. So last week when I read the latest issue of Entrepreneur and disagreed with one of their articles on Pinterest, I decided to reach out to the editor through Twitter instead of reaching out via email.
Here’s what our conversation looked like:
One simple tweet (and an email) got the editor’s attention and will get me published in an upcoming issue of Entrepreneur! How exciting is that.
Now, I’m not saying that you should disagree with the editor from your dream magazine – you can compliment one of their articles, share one of their tweets, congratulate them on a great issue, share a relevant statistic, reply to one of their comments or follow up to one of their articles – but the goal is to use Twitter to get their attention (you can also use Facebook and other social media networks for this, but my network of choice to connect with journalists is Twitter).
To find out what journalists are on Twitter, you can use a service like www.muckrack.com – they have lists for magazine like Self, Vogue, More and for TV shows like CBS News and ABC News, among many others. Or you can find the New York Times staff on Twitter and use Twitter’s search function to find relevant lists of journalists. I typed in “Fashion Journalists on Twitter” and came up with this great list and this list for Beauty journalists.
So the next time you are on Twitter, make a list of ten journalists you’d like to connect with, read their latest articles, blog posts or publications and send them a tweet about it! You’ll get their attention, connect with them and start a great relationship.
I’d love to know other ways in which you’ve used Twitter to grow your business. Leave a comment below and let me know!
Hiring a PR firm can be really overwhelming, both in price and the effort you’ll put in finding a firm that can fully expose your products to the world. I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be. I once spent $6,000 on a PR firm hoping they would get me tons of press. I did get some press mentions, but it definitely wasn’t worth the money.
DIY public relations is perfect for creative entrepreneurs because it easy to start, simple to use and best of all—free. The few minutes you invest signing up and filling in your profile can yield far more press than spending thousands with a traditional firm.
Here are a few sites I’ve used to get tons of publicity for my products without spending a cent:
Help a Reporter Out or HARO: Instead of you looking for PR, this is PR looking for you! By subscribing you’ll get HAROs, or media requests, in your inbox from reporters looking to speak to someone in your field. Reply to the ones that are suited to your market and start the ball rolling.
Reporter Connection bundles verified requests from reporters, producers and bloggers into its 5-day per week emails to expert sources (that’s you). When you see a story that fits your niche simply click on the link to connect with the reporter.
Pitch Rate lets reporters rate your abilities as a source after they work with you.The more times you source, the greater your opportunity to build your rating with journalists and get your ideas out to even more readers.
Flack List is the reporters little black book, and you want to be in it. This site maximizes your chance of turning up in a reporters search for a sources by offering SEO-optimized profiles. You can connect easily with reporters and PR reps to share white papers, studies and trend reports.
What other similar sites have you used to get publicity? Share your resources in the comments below.
If your PR strategy is to write a press release and send it out to the media in hopes of gaining new customers for your product or service, it’s time to stop that right now! Press releases no longer work.
Has this press release nightmare happened to you?
When I started my eco-friendly t-shirt company, Tees for Change, four years ago, I spent almost $500 to hire an online service to write a press release and distribute it to “tens of thousands of journalists.” And then I sat and waited for the media to call me and for customers to start buying.
When that didn’t happen, I assumed it was because the press release was sent out on a Friday and who really works on Fridays anyway? So I waited another month and this time I hired someone to write a press release for me and decided to distribute it through a very popular PR service (on a Tuesday), at a cost of almost $500 again. I got one response – a journalist who wanted a free sample. I sent her the sample and never heard from her again despite my attempts to follow up numerous times.
And then I tried something different. I purchased access to a media list and made a list of targeted reporters and editors who were working on holiday gift guides for their respective magazines. I then looked through some past magazines and realized that each magazine had a different angle to their holiday gift guides:
- gifts that give back
- gifts under $50
- eco-friendly gifts
- gifts for parents
- last-minute gifts
- inspirational gifts, etc.
I created a story (also known as a pitch in the media world) around my t-shirts and contacted the editors, this time individually, pitching two of my t-shirts as “gifts that give back.” And, to my surprise, over 20 editors wrote back and said that they were interested in covering my t-shirts in their holiday gift guides. Not all of them actually ended up featuring the t-shirts (some dropped them last minute, some featured them in a later issue and some changed their mind), but I made over $20,o00 in sales from being mentioned in their holiday gift guides that year!
I repeated the same pitch the following year and got my shirts mentioned in even more magazines. And then I realized that I could do this throughout the year: great gift for Mother’s or Father’s Day or gift guides, perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, eco-friendly products for their April issue (when many magazines celebrate Earth Day), products that make a difference, tees that plant trees (I planted a tree for each tee I sold and the media loved this).
When are press releases appropriate?
There’s definitely a time and a place for having a press release (usually after the media is interested in your story), but the press release no longer works as the main way to get press for your products. However, if you want SEO juice and if you want more links back to your site, press releases are great for that! Just not for getting your products featured in a magazine.
The media wants specific story ideas and launching a Spring line for your clothing or adding 10 more types of soaps to your health and beauty line is not a story.
To get specific story ideas, look through the last few issues of the magazine that you want to get your products featured in and make a list of the topics they cover. Then see if your products would fit in any of those stories and craft your next pitch around that.
Also, check out the magazine’s Editorial Calendar (which is usually found in the Advertising section of the magazine’s website or you can Google Glamour Magazine + Editorial Calendar, for example) and see if your products will make a good fit for any of their upcoming stories. Keep in mind that magazines work 4-6 months in advance, so if you are pitching a story for their holiday gift guides, for example, you’ll need to pitch it in June, July or August.
Here’s what you should do right away:
- Make a list of 10-15 magazines/blogs/TV shows, etc. that you want your products to be featured in in the next 6-12 months
- Check out the current issue of each magazine (you can do so at Barnes & Noble for free) and make a list of topics that each magazine covers that could be a great fit for your products
- Find and download each magazine’s editorial calendar
- Make a list of the contact information for the appropriate editor that you’re going to contact at each magazine
- Come up with a story idea for each magazine
- Email each editor with your story idea and don’t forget to follow up a week later (and then two weeks later)
If you follow the steps above, you’ll be on your way to getting more press coverage for your products!
If you’ve had a similar experience with press releases, I’d love to hear about it. Leave your comments below.