Every day I speak with business owners from around the world. Personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians, cosmetic formulators, fashion designers, spa owners, hair stylists, pharmaceutical companies and so on. I really specialize in anything that makes us look and feel good. New exercise classes, superfood snacks, wearable tech, athletic wear, healthy food services, a breakthrough drug, beautiful apparel, etc.
It’s a part of what I do each day and I learn so much about the real pain points that entrepreneurs face as they try to expand their business and build brand awareness.
Every so often I will post real questions from brave bosses and start-up founders hustling to create their dream businesses. Everybody seems to have similar problems and questions, even though they are in different industries. They’re all trying to figure out this marketing game.
I am a business marketing consultant trying to help them. Sometimes I consult and sometimes I build strategies to help organize entrepreneurs so there not marketing by the seat of their pants. I meet all these brave souls on sites like Upwork, LinkedIn Profinder, YouTube, Angel.co, Clarity.fm, etc.
I love working with startups and passionate people in general. It just makes the day better. They are working on the coolest things. What kinds of things? Apps to help us stick to our diet when we eat out; evidence-based reviews of alternative therapies like acupuncture and cryotherapy; a new health and wellness club that incorporates the newest in tech like DNA testing; a seasonless line of women’s wear with styles that enhance what you already have in your closet; a better bone broth; a way to help people allocated their paycheck and a path to financial wellness, and so forth.
One particular entrepreneur/blogger was looking to pitch journalists about her new website. She is obsessed with how technology is helping women stay healthier and live longer.
She sent the link to her new website and had placeholders for blog posts and zero social media content, but she wanted to build a plan to pitch the media and collaborate with influencers to build her network.
Her questions –
1) Can I use the same pitch for lifestyle and health (journalists)?
Short answer, no. Best practices include tailoring the pitch to each individual writer and website/program. General pitching is rarely picked up unless it is a very timely news story. Pitching should be thoughtful. You’re developing relationships with these writers and you won’t be off on the right foot if you start with “here’s my story, now please write it.”
2) Which news categories should I target?
Health + tech. I’d start with those two categories. It helps if you do a Google news search to see who is hot on your topic. Just search in Google News and read the first ten most recent articles. Recent is important. In this ever-changing, fast-paced world, yesterday’s news is long gone. Then start a simple excel sheet and dig for the email address of the writers who are covering your topics. This will be the beginning of your media list.
3) Best channels (online platforms) to approach media for the site?
Email and Twitter. However, you need to start a relationship first. For example, you don’t just DM on Twitter. Retweet some of their stories, comment and like. Don’t just start pitching, it looks like stalking.
4) Other ideas you can provide to accelerate traction (brand awareness) on a tight budget?
Write or film amazing blog content and be the publisher of all things health + tech. That’s what you should be doing in the first place. Media attention and collaborations come naturally from producing excellent work built on honesty and integrity that gets shared.
Note: This case study is a summary of a very successful three year public relations and media outreach campaign that I single-handedly created and executed, landing media and influencer mentions in US Weekly, Elle, Shape, Fitness, Allure, W, Health, Prevention and many, many more. It is packed with story ideas, pitches and ways to reach out to the media and influencers for press coverage for your new brand. While I love working with health, wellness, fitness and nutrition brands, these tips are for anyone trying to connect with the media and build their market. If you are looking to build press and influencer connections like a pro, you should probably check out my course The PR Playbook.com as well.
Why Vanity Metrics Matter
Everyone knows that influencers can actually sell through your product, bring real return on investment to your conversion funnel and actually have you making some money off your new business, but you tell me, how do you plan on paying for all that sponsored media? You need a balance of both blogger and persuasive top tier mentions and connections to convince and convert.
Same Problem, New Solution
I digitized these press clips and organized them into case studies with helpful tips for you to demonstrate that the news cycle in health, wellness, fitness and nutrition is a continual loop of how to look and feel our best. What is old again, is new again.
How to Pitch Like a PR Pro
It is not enough to tell the world you have built something brand new. You MUST share the problem you solve and why your product is the ultimate solution. In order to do this consistently like I did, with press in every media outlet imaginable – from Brides to Marie Claire; Town & Country to Oprah and Travel & Leisure to Vogue, you have to be very, very creative. No blogger, vlogger or journalist in their right mind wants a mass blanket pitch.
One of my first clients in beauty was a complex collection of skincare products (read: over 125 SKUs) from a brand called Yon-Ka Paris.
The challenge: Accumulate international brand awareness and celebrity cult-like status for an obscure, botanically-based skin care line created by two eccentric sisters living in the countryside of France without heat, electric or plumbing.
- Create an influencer & celebrity worthy experience while delivering five-star results at a world premiere event, like the Cannes Film Festival.
2. Don’t just focus on the masses. Branch out and persistently and consistently land press coverage in specialty (niche) media like I did here with bridal and new moms.
3. Pitch story angles around each individual product for additional reviews and inclusion in specific problem/solution stories.
4. Build upon product coverage and reviews by promoting spa and retail partners to build a clip book of the best of spa and wellness experiences in top tier media outlets, like Allure, Vogue and W.
5. Stay on top of all consumer trends and connect the brand to everything that is “hot”, on newsworthy, while climbing the charts – always sharing with media outlets in a timely fashion.
6. Create a charticle and/or listicle with products that offer solutions for every health and beauty challenge under the sun.
7. Never miss an opportunity to let the world know that your product is coveted by insiders “in the know”. Yon-Ka featured here in The NY Times.
8. Research, uncover and reveal blogger, vlogger, model, celebrity and influencer hacks, secrets & ways to look and feel their best. Then share it with those who want to look and feel like a star.
9. Highlight and tout exotic ingredients, or even every day house hold items and edibles like grapefruit as the next super food, miracle cure and foundation of youth, while sharing the benefits backed by science.
10. Show everyone short cuts to reduce stress while recreating an at-home mindful spa & wellness experience.
More ways to create story ideas around your products and brand . . .
- People can never have enough ways to eliminate the signs of anxiety and exhaustion.
- Help followers, customers & prospects pack for travel and another season and reason of self-care.
- Vet products, curate collections and share other complimentary brands in your story.
- Offer up new survival tips and products for every day annoying, yet common problems, like dark under eye circles.
- Collaborate with all-stars, including your strategic partners, retailers and professionals for added press coverage.
- Reposition your products for a new market – like men’s skin care.
- Position your more expensive, luxury product as an investment.
- Make sure your products are in good company and in the hands of professionals – and share their know-how with the world.
- Niche markets like “pregnancy” may have a shorter customer lifetime value, but they are open to product suggestions and recommendations. Especially when positioning your product as safe and effective for everyone.
- You’ll build more trust when you sound believable, so keep it really real. Don’t just make up your CEO’s quotes. Let them speak from the heart. Be believable.
- Popularize a certain part of the body and zone in on care for that one particular area.
- Promote soothing, safe, natural ingredients – like botanicals for specific skin conditions.
- Take an age old problem, and propose a new way to deal and heal it.
- Sampling sizes always work to give customers the opportunity to try before they buy.
- Does your product have an exceptional color? texture? Share the beauty of what’s inside the bottle.
- Understand your customer persona. What is her personality type? Naturalist? Futurist? or maybe just pure Becky. It doesn’t matter, just be sure to pitch to the media he/she reads, views, likes and shares.
- Go local – Connect with city guides in areas of dominant influence.
- Even in an age of influencers by the dozen, stars and celebrities still have pull.
- Plan an amazing product giveaway for your audience, fans and followers.
- Plan a splurge vs steal story – and include products at every price point.
- Help people get ready to reveal more for a new season – summer slim down and beach beauty prep.
- Have experts speak on your behalf. They need the publicity just as much as you do.
- Promote your product by lifestyle – cross over with fashion and accessories. Create the ultimate beach guide.
- Notice an ingredient trend before an influencer does? – help them select products for a round up .
- Have you opened a new retail account? Launched in a new online store? Tweet and share the news.
- Even if you are not pitching a story or new product it is important that influencers know what you are up to – so they can include you in their upcoming stories. Stay in touch with your VIPs.
- What happens when you have a fierce sales team, a loyal customer base and a winning marketing team – it’s a recipe for magic – it’s explosive.Work together.
- Show people how to relax, de-stress and unwind during distracting times.
- Help people transform themselves. Read: A complete vegan makeover.
- Are your products in a new hot destination spot? Promote it.
- Added tip: Make customization as simple as possible. As a matter of fact. Make everything as simple as possible.
- Take one ingredient – like geranium – and promote the hell out of it.
- Get people out of a bind – like when they over tan or burn their skin .
- Keep it exclusive and promote win its aka “contests” to attract new audiences.
- Promote B2B and B2C – which also helps boost employee morale.
- Promote experts from within your company to speak about their skill set.
- Seed out your products to celebrities.
- Offer tips on how to choose the best products in a category – like self-tanners.
- Go niche – pitch to smaller media and combine products with partners for the ultimate story mention.
- Pimp out celebrity users when they are launching a new movie or track. They need the publicity now more than ever.
- Reveal confessions.
- Ask your followers what their favorites are and report on that.
- Enter awards for your brand and promote the honors.
- Focus on problematic issues, like sensitive skin.
Want more ways to build your brand with media coverage? Check out my on line video course, ThePRPlaybook.com a short cut to learning how to pitch the press like a pro.
Brands and more specifically, the people behind them have difficulty rationalizing PR and advertising budgets, questioning whether they will get the most bang for their buck. Bang being ultimate publicity; New York Times covers, celebrity ambassadors, etc. Well, here at the MJMPR, we believe it’s always good to dream big but don’t serve blah, serve bling.
If you are considering a holiday pop-up for 2014 and you’ve never done one before, read on. For those of us in public relations, a pop-up store is one of the best backdrops for promotion and news making events and can add fresh energy to a brand’s image, like Fendi’s shop in Soho which opened July 5th. It’s also a great way for you to communicate your brand values and mission. I had the opportunity to participate in a client’s meeting last week with the producers of the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. These particular holiday shops surround a free ice skating rink, open to the public seven days a week behind the New York Public Library. They include more than 125 boutique-like shops offering gift ideas from apparel to jewelry, decorative goods, local foods, and much more. This year the producers of the shops estimate foot traffic at 10,000 a day and have extended the selling season from October 21 through January 3 2015 in order to give vendors more “ramp up” time (typically one week to ten days to gain momentum) and provide a weather hedge. Yes, these stores are outdoors. This year, like last, they are sponsored in part by Bank of America. There are plenty of holiday pop-ups in New York and around the US. Some are stand alone and others holiday bazaars. New York Magazine and Racked.com typically add them to a post as the season gears up. A Profitable Pop-Up We know that pop-ups can be great for branding, with so many new eyeballs on your signage and products, but can they be profitable as well? The answer is yes, they absolutely can, as we have learned that the average vendor may gross up to a half a million in sales in an eleven week season at Bryant Park, which should cover staffing and start-up costs, if you watch the bottom line. It’s all about preparing for the maximum amount of sales possible. Consider the following check list to prepare for success.
- Keep display costs and overhead expenses as low as possible. Forget shipping that heavy trade show both that will have to be retrofitted to your temporary store. Head to Ikea for light weight temporary shelving and battery operated lighting.
- Be careful of the company you keep. Some pop-ups may be a bit too foodie or “crafty” for your brand. When shopping around, ask for a list of past and present vendors.
- Design a stylish shop with eye-candy like displays and gift items at all price points – starting with stocking stuffers (trinkets under $10.00) and work your way up to gifts for her, him, teachers, tutors, aunts and cousins for up to $200 a box/basket.
- Hire and train the right staff to represent your brand well. Go as far as creating an operational manual with pre-opening role-playing sessions for meeting and speaking to customers and closing a sale. Some vendors have actually not been asked back due to “operational issues” like the store not opening on time or looking presentable enough.
- Drive customers to your store with pre-promotion for editorial coverage, calendar listings as well as social media posts and email campaigns. Canvas subway and bus stop stations with marketing cards and special offers to those that visit your pop-up shop.
- Host events, especially on quieter days like Monday – Wednesday. Make them interactive and offer special sample giveaways for those who shop with a friend. Check out Google’s Winter Wonderlab and Snow Globe from 2013, which had six locations across the US.
Pop-up shops/temporary retail don’t have to be holiday driven. They are also a great way to test brick and mortar stores and engage with your customer. Looking for pop-up space? Check out TheStoreFront.com and Openhouse which has a culinary concept kitchen and flexible spaces and rates at their Mulberry location. Need help planning the perfect pop-up? Give us a call or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Companies often feel weary and even resistant to shell out free products and services in fear of inventory loss, associated costs and the negative connotation that sampling carries; having no tangible, added value. What companies fail to realize is that the customer’s willingness (or lack thereof) to further invest in the brand is contingent upon their experience with the product/service itself. If the hardest part in selling is physically getting the customer to try your product, why not expedite the process by putting the product in their hands?
Companies should take notes from successful big player brands like Proctor & Gamble and Unilever who are paying supermarkets for booth space in efforts to scale out as many giveaways for new product launches. Sampling is a simple and relatively cost-effective strategy in a world where advertising budgets exceed six figure digits. Consider companies like Birchbox, Nina Garcia’s Quarterly Box, and Allure Magazine’s Beauty Box exposing consumer products in small trial-size dosages to appease risk-adverse and skeptical customers. And if there’s an app for it, you know it’s on the brink of something. Pinchme and SampleApp give any user the opportunity to test trial products for free and purchase those they deem worthy. These business models work in successfully guiding customers into new, diehard and bespoke products they may have overlooked based on price point or weak brand exposure. If people live by experience, then letting them experience your product on their own terms is one step closer then two-steps back.
Sampling is rooted in striving to transform an individual into a loyal and avid customer. In order to extract profits from samplers, one must identify why that particular product is being sampled (i.e. a company’s best seller, a new product launch or an undervalued product in dire need of exposure). Once the rational behind a sample is made, an execution strategy consistent with the brand’s business model follows. Ultimately, sampling may be the deal-breaker for your product’s survival, especially if it’s very core competencies are physical and sensor-based. Remember, sometimes it’s just as simple as “Try it before you buy it.”
It’s not just about the benefits you shell out. Consider and reflect on what is it that customers/clients truly value about your product or service.
Ask yourself. . . what are the most treasured offerings that your brand delivers that your customers really want and need? This thought process will help you increase your sales and marketing efforts tremendously.
You can’t just show value, you have to know your value.
The beauty blogger world just keeps on growing and growing. A great review of your new fragrance, lip gloss or night cream from an influential beauty enthusiast can mean more views on your website and buzz about your brand. One of the great things about these reviews is that they are so girlfriend like – making them that much more trustworthy. We think every brand could use a little more trust.
Probably one of our very favorite blogs, Cult of Pretty, is written by a product development expert who shares her favorite lotions and potions, some of which have developed a cult-like following.
You may laugh at the Google translation of OnlyLady.com but this blogger has influence in Asia and reviews luxe brands with an emphasis on skin care.
A Model Recommends is so much better on YouTube.com . Ruth Crilly hails from the UK and keeps it real, funny and has over 7.9 million video views.
Sandra from 15 Steps then a beauty blog has done an amazing job of taking her passion for cosmetics and skincare and sharing it with the world. She’s from Canada and reviews everything from the best exfoliators to the glossiest of lip treatments.
Meg of Lipsofacto.com was listed in The Times’s ’10 Best Beauty Websites’ in their 50 Best Websites for Fashion and Beauty feature. A few of her favorite bloggers include BeautyMouth The Dauphine and Essie Button
This post will continue with more best of beauty bloggers in the next few weeks. Need help reaching out to top beauty bloggers for reviews for your brand? Email us for assistance.
It starts something like this. You see your competition getting all of this press in top tier media – from The New York Times to Vanity Fair Magazine and you ask – how did they become so popular with the press?
We open quite a few new doors for our clients. Doors that lead to new opportunities for press and growth in brand awareness. Doors that lead to interviews, valuable editorial and impressive earned media coverage. As well as those that lead to special event opportunities, industry awards, celebrity seeding and creditable marketing campaigns. This is what your PR agency should be doing for you.
The Past is Always Present
More often than not, we receive calls from companies we have represented in the past, asking us if we’d like to work with them again. They’ve been through the mill, worked with the competition and have become disenchanted with PR. BTW we are working on a post about the most common complaints we hear about other agencies.
Keep ’em Coming Back For More
We believe that the reason clients keep coming back is that they long for our sincerity, enthusiasm and dependability. They remember how we own it. We represent our clients like every day is the first day, maintaining the same level of excitement that we had when the ink was still wet on our agreement.
If you are considering working with a PR agency and want to know what it takes to become popular with the press, allow us to guide you —
Communication is Key
We make it a habit to keep our clients very close through constant communication and status updates. You should never have to ask for an update or wait for a status report. We also communicate daily with the media, making sure the articles they are writing are consistently on point with your key messages. We do this is a speedy fashion.
We have a “whatever it takes” attitude – because your agency should deliver what they pitched you in the first place. If they are side tracking with other opportunities or begin complaining that your product/service isn’t smart enough, expensive enough, pretty enough – well more often than not, these are just excuses. Ask them why they didn’t bring these points up before joining the team. Press comes from persistent pitching to the media with timely and creative angles to help support stories.
We listen and learn carefully to understand the nature of our client’s practices. We have to understand their industry, competition and challenges in order to help them. There is no excuse for not taking the time to study your market and trends on the horizon.
Attention to Detail
We pay attention to detail – making sure that key messages for each and every product are consistent throughout all marketing collateral. If that means working late to help you edit your next brochure or website, than so be it. It’s a team effort and your agency should go that extra mile.
Reality is Your Friend
We never over promise, because reality is our friend and yours. No use living in denial. You will know what we can and can’t do with press for your product, before we go to bat. If a feature in People or InStyle magazine is out of the question, we will let you know.
Staying True to Our Mission
Reliability. We show up on time. We are the first on the conference call, waiting for your team to moderate. We are consistently creative, serving up fresh, new creative ideas for editorial coverage.
Honoring and Respecting Your Time
Respecting time and space by being really dependable. You can count on us to set up your trade show booth while you unpack from a long flight. Be rest assured that we show up on time and proudly represent your brand. One of our main goals is to build a trusting relationship with you and your team.
Building Professional and Personal Relationships
Professional relationships can be personal, and they damn well should be. We are working with you and for you. Sharing your hopes, dreams and aspirations for your company. We spend a lot of time together. A PR agency should get involved in the day-to-day marketing activities with your company and your team. If they’re not, somethings wrong.
Sincere Honest Feedback
We give it to you – the good, the bad and the ugly. Those samples we asked you to send over to Glamour Magazine were smashed and didn’t quite make the impression we wanted. Yes, you will hear about it. The reporter found dead links in your website right before going to press- we’ll help you fix it. Your marketing copy sounds condescending, we make recommendations.
Have questions about how to become popular with the press? Leave a comment, we look forward to hearing from you.
Stepping up your mobile strategy will allow you to reach your consumers during what marketers call the “path to purchase” or what is considered your customers’ “voyage to value”.
It starts with awareness – what is that new fragrance from Chanel called?
then moves to trial – I received a Birchbox of samples of the newest lip and eye shades!
with a persuasive “call to action” –now that is a Sephora beauty deal worth receiving.
and finally, being there when she needs you most – the touch point of loyalty – I have to buy that new age-defying eye serum right now!
Your website should be optimized for mobile (iPhones, Androids and tablets across the board) to capture your customer at all phases of her purchasing journey. When will she finally click to the cart? It could be today, it could be next month – but you better be ready for her, where ever she is.
Here, a few tips on how to develop a smart mobile strategy for your beauty brand –
- Study your audience purchasing habits – including media consumption patterns. Is it TMZ? or Style.com?
- Ask the question -What does your consumer want out of a mobile offering? Price comparisons? product reviews? QR code scanning?
- Understand whether your product is suitable to mobile marketing or actual mobile commerce.
- Consider that consumers are using more than one device to search and shop – tablet, phone, desktop and laptop. Make sure your brand looks and performs well on all platforms.
And. . . .
- When it comes to designing your customer’s user experience – maximize utility and minimize clutter. It shouldn’t be difficult to find the “buy now” button.
- Realize there will be some consistent messaging and content across all platforms as well as specific information to each device/platform. Think it through. A “thoughtful” mobile app is a better experience.
- Some of the “content” you create should tout your brands’ goods and services while other information might be more peripheral – and not even seem to related to the brands’ core offerings, but more to the lifestyle of the consumer.